Greetings and salutations, most honourable fellow Rowbots. I'm checking in as scheduled, to bring you the best, most fail-safe, clinically tested observations about the state of our beloved hometown nine. Nothing but hard facts and piercing insight here, in which we will take six Cactus League games and proceed to analyze the crap out of them. Now if --
uh scuse me. Sorry about that. As I was saying --
BASEBALL! BASEBALL! BASEBALL! GLORY HALLELUJAH! BASEBALL! IT'S BACK! WE HAVE REACHED THE PROMISED LAND!
/runs up stairs
/runs down stairs
BASSSEEBAAALLLLL HOW WE'VE MISSED YOU
/runs up hallway
/runs down hallway
/runs across campus
BASEBALL BASEBALL BASEBAL....
/collapses in heap
I'm sorry. I had to get that out of my system. Take a flying leap and land after the jump for the latest hot-off-the-press and completely infallible predictions that we can make from observing the first action of the decade.
To which, I have prepared with scrupulous care:
1) Seth Smith is the best baseball player since Babe Ruth, and anyone who says a word to the contrary is DUMM;
2) Said baseball ability is fueled entirely by unicorns and rainbow-colored polar bears;
3) Huston Street and Rafael Betancourt are actually dead and will never be heard from again;
4) Ian Stewart is a bum who must be cut at once;
5) Troy Tulowitzki will OBP .600 this year and walk twice every game while hitting moonshot HRs in his other two ABs, while winning all the Gold Gloves from both leagues, only to have them removed when Bud Selig declares they should actually go to Jimmy Rollins;
6) They are not losses, they are only incomplete victories;
7) Aaron Cook will be cited by PETA for cruelty to animals due to killing so many worms;
8) Franklin Morales is terrible and should be left at the side of the road for the scrap pitcher truck;
9) Ryan Spilborghs will miss every ball ever hit his way and thus result in a free source of triples for the opposition;
10) Despite all this, the Rockies will go 162-0, and sweep the NLDS, NLCS, and World Series.
Anyone see anything wrong here? I didn't think so! Ah, I love spring.
In the unlikely event that you weren't one of the hordes clinging onto radio/MLB.TV broadcasts like junkies looking for heroin, you may have heard that the final spring season in Tucson started earlier this week. They opened proceedings by walloping the Diamondbacks 11-1, beat the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Orange County California USA North America Planet Earth Milky Way 7-5, and on the same day lost to the Giants 7-4. Equanimity was restored with a comeback win against the Brewers split-squad, 8-6, and today they managed the remarkable feat of simultaneously losing to (9-3) and beating (4-1) the Diamondbacks, in another pair of split-squad contests that were cut short by rain. Six games, a 4-2 record, and we're looking at one is potentially one of our most uneventful springs thus far, aside from the early injury concerns. Barring meteor strikes, avian flu, or a complete collapse by the Physicist, the roster is all but set.
The injury problems are probably the leading story thus far, as far as both Street and Betancourt have had the purple faithful a little on edge by virtue of having problems with their respective shoulders. There is no good reason to panic yet, which means that we should all jump off bridges. Jeff Francis is a little wild and has underwhelming velocity, which will happen when you haven't thrown a pitch since September 2008. There is no good reason to believe that he won't get sharper with practise, which means that we should all panic and plan for Tim Redding and/or Franklin Morales nuclear disasters in the fifth starter spot. Oh, and Ubaldo gave up 4 runs to the Angels in his first spring start, SO LET'S JUST THROW ALL THAT CY YOUNG TALK OUT THE WINDOW RIGHT NOW. Jeez.
What's looked good thus far? The hitting. Troy Tulowitzki has figured out from the get-go that he is 6'3", not 5'10", and is already upright in the batter's box. Carlos Gonzalez is beginning to fire the LAZOR, and of course if Seth Smith doesn't get canonized on the double, then someone needs to lodge a complaint with the Vatican. Stewart is getting into the groove as well, and this is without appearances from Helton, the Thong, and Hawpe. The team is good, it knows it's good, and it's looked sharp from the get-go, a plethora of base-running blunders aside. It's still only the first week of games, and there is plenty of time to iron out those kinks. Compare that to how sloppy the Diamondbacks looked during their first game, and we can confidently predict an NL West title and yada yada.
What does spring training mean? Still diddlysquat. But I for one like to see them come out of the gate looking more like the team that they're finally supposed to be. It will all go down the drain, of course, if they hit April and May with their customary thud, which will lead to real questions about if they just think the season starts in June or what. But having imbibed far more purple Kool-Aid than is good for me, I'll say they won't. Maybe they won't start out like barnstormers, but I will take the plunge and predict an over-.500 opening month for them. Instead of loading up on divisional games as usual, they'll be mostly facing the NL East: Mets, Braves, Nationals, and Marlins all in a row, bracketed with the Padres on the starting end and the Diamondbacks on the tail. Combined with their opening series at Milwaukee, there is plenty of space here to get going early. No matter how fun comebacks from 10 games under may be, I've seen that rerun a lot. I'm looking for a new film here.
Yes, I'm aware that there's some sort of awards ceremony going on tonight. The Rockies have had their share of baubles in the past, but they've missed out on the big banana. Kind of like Meryl Streep. Time to go for the jugular, and play like they're supposed to. The time for disappointments is past. For once, it is going to be a very big deal if they fall on their faces -- potentially more than in 2008, but it's hard to say. A second playoff appearance has removed some of the fluky label, but you'd like them to be a bit more predictable than Freddy Krueger on Valium.
So in short, WE ARE TEH BEZT. Fact yo.
I can't believe there's still 28 more days until Opening Day.