Showing posts with label Fake Games. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fake Games. Show all posts

Monday, March 21, 2011

Making something out of numbers that mean nothing

(I've never actually seen the show above. Though both of those guys seems like real mensches.)

Indulge us, if you will, the latitude to contradict1 ourselves.2

If years of reading this blog hasn't led you to the notion that we don't put much stock into Spring Training, then perhaps you've missed the past few years where we refer to this part of the schedule as "fake games".

And yet...tilt your head in just the right way, and there's something to be gleaned from the collected output of 21 exhibition matches. Not that we think that they are overly predictive, but some of the whatnot and wherefore makes for amusing chatter. So here are a few curios that we've plucked out of the pile.

Iron Men: Both Jonathan Diaz and David Cooper have played in 20 games thus far in the spring, most of any of the Dunedin denizens. Though most of those appearances have come off the bench, allowing their big league brethren to peel out of the parking lot before the last pitch is thrown, we suspect that the brain trust have chosen to take a longer look at them in the pre-season. Same goes for Eric Thames, whose 46 ABs (in 18 games) are most this spring for the Jays.

Why the lingering gaze? In the case of Thames and Cooper, we get the sense that a decision has to be made within the next 12 months on where they fit in the plans for the future, and this spring is a crucial piece of their evaluations. Neither player is heading north any time soon, but the 2012-2013 rosters are beginning to take shape. And as well as they've performed so far, we suspect that neither will have any sort of profound impact on those future contenders.

As for Diaz, he sounds as though he's in possession of a magnificent glove, though his acumen with the bat makes Mike McCoy seem like the Splendid Splinter. Our guess is that he's a body who can fill in at enough positions to get the Jays through the overly long tune-up period.

Ratios! We heard ESPN fantasy dude Nate Ravitz make mention on his podcast this week that the only stat he observes through the spring are K-to-walk ratios for pitchers. Which seems about right to us, especially with his proviso that the ratio has to be really impressive or really bad to catch his attention. So here's what we found upon a brief review of the Jays' hurlers:

Jesse Litsch - 17Ks/3 BBs. Woah. If we had any reservation about his spot in the rotation, it's probably gone. For now.

Brandon Morrow - 16Ks/3 BBs. Okay, we're not going to put too much stock into this...But Jesse Litsch's K/BB ratio is slightly better than Brandon Morrow's so far. Roll that around your noggin for a while.

Kyle Drabek - 9Ks/1 BB. Still under a strikeout per inning pitched, but you at least have a sense that he's ready to step in as the fourth/fifth guy and work his way up the ladder.

Bret Cecil - 10Ks/4BBs. Sounds about right.

Ricky Romero - 10Ks/9BBs. Aside from Aaron Hill's spotty attendance record so far, this is the March development that concerns us most. When we watched him a few weekends ago, he looked as though he had great control over all his we'll chalk this up to spring experimentation.

David Purcey - 5Ks/7BBs. That's how you pitch your way out of town. Or pitch Marc Rzepczynski (9/6) into contention for your spot in the bullpen.

Other fun numbers of note: The Jays are taking a lot of walks so far, with J.P. Arencibia leading the way with six (tied with Thames). For all of the talk about his bad start at the plate, we'll gladly take the walks...Rajai Davis is slugging .639, with three homers and five doubles so far. Now that's our kind of slap-hitter...Yunel Escobar has 16 hits and five walks so far, which gives us a modicum of hope that he'll be back to a 3ish WAR.

So that's about it. We could really parse these numb3rs and try to figure out who the killer is before the third commercial break, but that would just make us look silly, wouldn't it?


1. Walt Whitman wrote: Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.) So there.

2. Amongst the hazards of my continuing insistence on using this "we" voice is getting stuck with this awkward quandry: "ourself" or "ourselves"? Either way sounds wrong. Comes off simultaneously as oafish and poofy . No small feat, that.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Goin' to Houston...Say wha?

Okay, so we've had just about enough of Spring Training. That's it. We're done.

As such, last night we started to check the schedule to see when we can finally put a cap on the Fake Games and get things revved up for the real deal. Which is when we noticed the Jays playing a two game series at Minute Maid Park in Houston on Friday and Saturday, April 2nd and 3rd.

What the what?

For a half-second, we were trying to figure out if the league was pulling some weird "Kick Off The Season With Interleague Non-Rivalries" promotion. Which, if you think about it, wouldn't be the strangest thing that they've suggested this off-season.

What makes this two-game tune-up series in an actual big league park even stranger is that both games that weekend will get the full TV broadcast treatment from Sportsnet and TSN2. Like as if they matter somehow.

We do remember the Dodgers coming to SkyDome for a pre-season game at one point years ago, so this isn't beyond the realm, and we're told that this is actually a bit of a tradition in Houston, and that they're just fine with it. So that's that, we suppose.

But it make us wonder why, precisely, MLB is waiting until the Sunday night to kick things off for the season. Frankly, why can't they just get stuff started this coming Monday? Most teams have their rosters pretty much set, and Spring Training has already dragged itself downwards into such a state of tedium that the highlight of this week will end up being a couple of MLBAM beat reporters having a footrace.

(Having said that, we'd pay good money to see some of the portly old inked-stained wretches stumble and wheeze their way around a track.)

We suppose that some baseball is better than no baseball, so we're not sure what our complaint is. Aside from wanting to get things started and moving so that we get through 2010 as quickly as possible, and on to 2011 in short order.

Speaking of 2011...
Where the hell is that announcement of the Aldeinis Hechavarria signing?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Behold the awesomeness of Jo-Bau

Assume all of the standard caveats about these being fake games, and the Ghosts of Jason Lane and Simon Pond, and what have you. And also assume the caveats about how it doesn't matter if you are crushing fastballs that are slow and straight (like Adam Carolla fans!) in March. Or April. Or September. And possibly May. Maybe August too.

But set all that aside for a brief moment, and let's drink this in. Let's savour the sweet spring of José Bautista. Let's swish it around in our mouths, and let it just sit there for a moment or two.

Here's what the man has done in five Fake Games so far: He's got 22 total bases in 14 at bats. He sports a 2.214 OPS (.643 OBP, 1.571 SLG). He's got nine hits, of which seven are for extra bases (four doubles and three homers). He's scored six and driven in six. And he's played third base while certain other Jays tend to the health of their fat, injured wrists.

Sure, we know it's totally wrong to fall in love with something so young and as-yet-unformed-and-immature. But if the Spring of Jo-Bau is Lolita, then we're the fumbling, bumbling Humbert Humbert, tripping over our own better sense to fall for it.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The unstoppable Arencibia

Considering how high and how low people have gone on J.P. Arencibia, it's hard to believe that it will only be three years this June since he was drafted into the Blue Jays organization. Catchers of the Future are always a tricky thing, and a great deal of them only emerge as legitimate Major Leaguers after abandoning the Tools of Ignorance and stepping out from behind the plate. (Like this guy.)

Still, there is some reason for optimism as Arencibia plays well through the Fake Game portion of the season. After hitting his third dinger of the Spring yesterday, we're wondering (almost certainly entirely prematurely) if Arencibia isn't playing his way into the conversation of which catcher joins the team when they head north.

Look, we know this is stupid. But this is the stupid, overly optimistic time of year. You wouldn't crap all over someone for being especially merry or jolly through the last weeks of December, would you? At that time of year, people see holly and winterberries and tinsel and lose their minds. We see Arencibia wearing number 9 (an especially auspicious number, if you ask us), and we start to have visions of his emergence as a stellar backstop. Or at least as an option.

We appreciate that one of the catch-and-throw guys will in all likelihood be the guy who gets the call at the end of this month. And we also realize that a couple of good at bats in March don't offset the step backwards that Arencibia took last year in Las Vegas. But we're hopeful that with a clean bill of health, Arencibia might emerge at some point this season as a viable backstop in the short term, and a middle of the order bat in the longer term.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Don't tell me the Jays are doing well in the Fake Games

La la la la la! We can't hear you!

When you say that José Bautista is hitting home runs, and so is Vernon Wells, and so is Randy Ruiz, we can't hear you. And don't even bother trying to tell us that Shaun Marcum pitched well in his first outing, or that Dustin McGowan looked like he might be showing some progress and may be on his way back. We're not going to hear you.

We're blocking out any such good news in the early going because we wouldn't want such news to find purchase in our mind, and start to grow visions of success. We would prefer to look at this all as a fluke, and to pretend that the Jays are playing bantam-level players in out-sized big league uniforms.

We should know better than to get enthusiastic in March. This is a lesson that should have been driven home by last year's squad, which was still sitting in first in May before completely falling apart and playing like the worst team in the Majors for the final three months of the season.

Still, the hopeless romantic in us wants to believe that there is something to the things that we're hearing out of Dunedin.

Marginalia - Notes on how we make editorial choices
We'd initially written something here about "don't let us look at the Fake Games results". Then we went looking for a photo of someone with a blindfold on. And that's when we realized that there are a lot of effed-up pictures of blindfolded people on the internet, and we didn't want to parse through those pictures anymore.

A weekend in The Show
So we picked up our copy of MLB 10 The Show this weekend, which was a very new and interesting experience after having played the MLB 2K games on the Wii for the past several years. If there is one thing that a uniform nerd like myself could fully appreciate, it was playing my first game and seeing Jo-Bau in his new number 19, and Randy Ruiz wearing his new number 21. The rosters hadn't quite been updated to the point of having Kevin Gregg in the bullpen, although we'll take that as a positive at this point. At least we didn't have to see last year's staff ace still on the roster, taunting us with his digital presence.

Now if we can only get the hang of this whole pitching meter thing. Because that shit is driving us nuts.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Let the Fake Games begin

They don't really count, or matter much. They produce goofy boxscores, and feature dudes running around willy-nilly in the outfield. They are overanalyzed, and make heroes out of guys like Simon Pond and Jason Lane.

In just about three hours from when we're typing this, the Spring Training Fake Games begin.
And even as we denigrate these games, and mock their worth, we know that we'll spend at least ten minutes out of our busy day today going over the results and parsing through the most microscopic of sample sizes.

There is something about this moment of the year that is positively sublime. It's like hearing the spine crack as you open a new book for the first time. Or like that moment when you pull the plastic off a new CD. Your mind races at the possibilities, and you can't wait to dig in and absorb every new moment, and every new thought and emotion that lies ahead. There's even something great about the feeling of trepidation that you might have leading into the season, with so many questions left to be answered, and so much uncertainty.

After a long winter and a long offseason, it's a moment like this that reawakens the soul of a baseball fan. Come what may in this truly transitional season for the Blue Jays, we're so happy to get things started. This is going to be fun.

Fake Games on TV! For reals!
Last night, we looked ahead on our interactive programming guide to see if, perchance, there may be a ball game on some time this week. What we weren't prepared for was just how many games will be on over the weekend. Between Sportsnet picking up the games from other team-owned networks (what a concept!), the Mets games on WPIX and the Cubs and White Sox games on WGN, there will be lots of opportunities to catch the start of the preseason.

Now, if only we could fluke our way into seeing a Jays game at some point...that would be cool.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Rock Out - Keith Richards and the X-Pensive Winos

Not to come off as an ingrate, but hasn't this whole spring training been going on a little too long? We get that after a long and cold winter of waiting for baseball's return, we should be happy that we're just two weeks away from the start of real baseball. But at this point, we're getting so tired of talking about disingenuous spring mancrushes, and who's going to make the team and who's not. Just get on with it already.

Random Tidbittery

-Lloyd (as always) pretty much nails it when he looks at the rather provincial response to Chipper Jones' distaste for Toronto. If he doesn't care for Toronto, then fine, but it is probably a little bit much to view Chipper's take as the character flaw of a redneck yahoo.

-Bastian notes that Travis Snider will get down on his hands and knees to receive Doc's benediction. Brett Cecil will wake up early in the morning for the same approval. We can't even tell you what we'd do.

-If you're A.J. Burnett (or a vase, or a thin pane of glass), and you're going to get hit with a line drive off the bat of a Blue Jay, you'd probably want that bat to belong to John McDonald. Because that shit will not break you.

-Former Jays AGM Bart Given's started a blog at And though he has some problems with misplaced apostrophes, it's worth a read here and there. There's some interesting insight into the dates of note for MLB front offices, which is especially relevant at this time of year.

And with that, we leave you with Keef and his band of musical assassins singing one of our favourite Stones songs. The Ack is back for the weekend, and we walk off for the week before they make us run.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Springtime mancrushes: Dirk Hayhurst

The standard caveats about the relative value of statistics in springtime fake games apply, but go with us here for a second as we get lost in the dreamy spring training numbers being put up by Dirk Hayhurst.

When the Jays plucked the aging minor leaguer off the scrap heap, the move elicited more than a few snorts and giggles along with the requisite hand-wringing. The Yankees were getting ready to load up on every arm in sight, and the Jays were scoping out guys with ERAs over 9? Fourth place! Fire J.P.! Contract the team! All is lost!

But a funny thing has happened in Florida over the past few weeks: Dirk Hayhurst has pitched his ass off. In seven innings so far, he has struck out 12 batters and has yet to give up a run or a walk. Hayhurst has been so dominant that one imagines that the only offensive force strong enough to face him may be Jason Lane.

Even with this otherworldly performance, Hayhurst will still be in tough to make the big league team come April. It seems unlikely that he could slide into the back end of the rotation after a couple of years coming primarily out of the bullpen, and the Jays have more than enough relief arms who are assured of a trip north.

(Which brings up a whole other question about whether the Jays could consider a start-by-committee scenario for the fifth starter slot, but that's another post altogether.)

Incidentally, if you want to get a better sense of the Jays new bullpen ubermensch, Hayhurst penned the "Non-Prospect Diary" column on Baseball America's over the past few years. These occasional entries offer some interesting insights into the life of a player hanging on to the last vestiges of his baseball dream, and make you root for Hayhurst that much more.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Let's not get ahead of ourselves

In this, the Spring of Diminished Expectations, we Blue Jays fans may have been getting a bit too revved up about the possibilities presented by the dynamic southpaw duo of Brett Cecil and Brad Mills.

Could they step into the decimated rotation and help salvage what seems to be a bit of a lost 2009 season? Would they turn a seeming weakness into a strength? Would they blow away not only the opposition, but also all of the naysayers and prophets of doom?

The news this weekend tossed a needed bucket of icy-cold water onto some of these rather lofty expectations. Cecil was given his ticket to the minor league camp (in the dubious company of a certain Mr. Maroth), while Mills gave up four hits and five walks to the Reds in Sunday's 5-4 extra-inning win. (Curtis Thigpen! Still the catcher of the future?!)

It's not to say that they won't be with the big club sooner rather than later. It's just that we should maybe temper our expectations of what they'll be able to offer at this early point of their development.

Hell, at 23, Jimmy Key spent his first season coming out of the bullpen and posting a 4.65 ERA and 1.65 WHIP. If either of those two young lefties were able to replicate the performances that Key put in over his subsequent eight years with the Blue Jays, we'd be thrilled. But, as Axl Rose said so many years ago, all we need is just a little patience.

Other notable notey notebook notes

Item number 1! Nadir Mohamed will be the next CEO of Rogers. It's hard to guess what this will mean for the RCI side of the equation, including the Blue Jays. Mohamed comes from the wireless side of things, so he may be willing to defer to CEOs of Rogers Media (Tony Viner) and the Blue Jays (Paul Beeston or his *cough snort cough* replacement)...but ultimately, we're left a bit uneasy by this. Wireless has always been a huge money maker for Rogers (system access fee my ass), and the media side of things scraped by, even before the advertising market went into the toilet. What will Mohamed think of the "red ink" in the other divisions when he is ultimately responsible for them?

Item number 2! We've avoided reading too many J.P. quotes this spring, if only because we don't put a ton of stock into them at this point. However, we were a bit disappointed to see the GM mention that Matt Clement is likely on the "outside looking in right now". It's not that Clement has blown anyone away as of yet, but we had started to get a bit optimistic that maybe he could rehabilitate his game and contribute in the short term.

In spite of the fact that we'd previously stated our belief that Clement wouldn't throw a pitch for the Jays, we find ourselves somehow rooting for him. Maybe it's the fact that he shaved that stupid facial hair off, thus making him more human to us.

Final item! We came to a stark realization this Sunday, about halfway through our second fantasy draft of the day: We kinda suck at fantasy baseball. Nobody should think of themselves as a roto authority when they take Kaz Matsui that early in a draft.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Small mercies - Doc still rocks

How about Roy Halladay's spring stat line? In nine innings, he has yet to give up a run, has given up just four hits, and has struck out 10 while walking two.

And that's in his spring tune-up starts. He's not even really trying yet.

Meanwhile, C.C. Sabathia gives up five runs in an inning and two-thirds yesterday.

Any chance we could get Halladay to pitch every third day? A 30-win season would look awfully good on Doc's Hall of Fame resumé.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Springtime mancrushes: Jason Lane

Spring Training, much like Spring Break, is a time to cast aside your inhibitions and allow yourself to develop unhealthy crushes on decidedly underwhelming subjects whilst under the influence of any number of intoxicants. (Our personal drug of choice this offseason: blind hope.)

So in the haze of optimism with which we surround ourselves these days, we're in full-on bromance mode with the Jays indomitable non-roster invitee Jason Lane. We're not actually watching the fake games, but when scoping out the boxscores, we can't help but get the impression that the team's fortunes will rise and fall depending on Lane's bat.

Okay, so maybe that's an overstatement. But at the same time, it's not out of the realm of possibility that he could actually contribute this year. We shouldn't forget that in spite of having more outfielders that places to play them last Spring, we still got to enjoy more than half a season of Mencherson. And we use the term "enjoy" loosely.

Also worth noting: Lane's also played a handful of games at first in his career. Just sayin'. In case someone who usually mans that position has got the hernias, or the ricketts, or the boogie-woogie influenza.

We're not kidding ourselves here, and no one needs to be reminded of the heroes of past preseasons, like Simon Pond or Gabe Gross. But when you're scraping the bottom of the barrel to find reasons to believe, you've got to hope that Lane could hit 26 homers again. (Right?)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It's the return of Fake Games!

It's the Jays versus the Yankees at 1:05 today, kicking off this year's slate of totally insignificant Fake Spring Training Games!

Let's all gather to hang off of every pitch! Let's follow along with Blair and Bastian (presumably on their Twitter pages) so that we can imbue every at bat with meaning!

The whingeing and fretting and gnashing of teeth for 2009 begins in just a few hours!

And if Brett Cecil has a good outing, then this first game means everything. He's sure to translate a great spring performance into the type of lasting Major League career not seen since Simon Pond or Gabe Gross.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Tonight is Amateur Night at the bars

Otherwise known as St. Patrick's Day. The day, of course, honours of the patron saint of pseudo-Irish Pub promotions. And if we weren't so run down, we'd put on an orange sweater and go beat the hell out of everyone drinking green beer tonight.

On the positive side, St. Patrick's Day does give MLB teams the opportunity to wear (and more importantly, sell) green jerseys and caps. Given the choice between the stupid black unis and caps that the Jays wear throughout the fake game schedule, we wholeheartedly support the team changing it up for a day.

Travis Snider skips a grade

Travis Snider is not going to take up a long term residence in Dunedin this year. According to the Manchester Union-Leader, the 20 year-old hitting phenom is on his way to the Eastern League this season, perhaps a bit ahead of schedule.

Given his importance to the franchise, Snider's progress will likely be monitored very closely this summer. If he hits AA pitching well (and his AFL performance would seem to indicate that he will), his ticket may be punched for the big club for April of 2009.

Speaking of left field...
With the moves made by the club and those thrust upon them in the past week, the roster seems to be in place for the the start of the season, with the notable exception of left field. The Reed versus Shannon battle hasn't exactly been cleared up, although if, like the Sun's Mike Rutsey, you're reading the tea leaves, we can expect to see Stewart in left and Reed in limbo on opening day.

Two more weeks of fake games?
God us now.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

We're goin' to the Olympics!

Our local band of baseball vagabonds have qualified for the 2008 Olympics! Which is wicked awesome, because we're gonna go over there to China and kick Jennie Finch's ass. Her sweet sweet ass. Mroawr.

The legend of Stubby Clapp grows.

Thoughts on Billy Crystal's game with the Yankees
Who gives a shit? This is precisely why we call them fake games.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

So many Wang jokes, so little time

The Jays face Wang for three to four innings today at 1:15 pm. (On Sportsnet! For reals! Are you shitting me?)

Here are the lineups and scheduled chuckers, cut and pasted from the LoHud Yankees blog:

Cabrera CF
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
Rodriguez 3B
Giambi DH
Cano 2B
Duncan 1B
Lane LF
Molina C

Wang (3-4)

Eckstein SS
Stairs RF
Wells CF
Rolen 3B
Thomas DH
Overbay 1B
Stewart LF
Hill 2B
Zaun C


Monday, March 10, 2008

Roy versus Roy

It's a great fake game matchup this afternoon, as Roy "Intensity in Ten Cities" Halladay takes on the Astros' Roy "I Coulda Sworn You Were Taller" Oswalt.

Sadly, with Cathal Kelly and Robert McLeod having escaped the Redneck Riviera in favour of shoveling their walkways in snowpacked T.O., we're left with perilously little livebloggage.

But wait! Wilner's there, and he's taken it upon himself to handle all of your liveblog needs! Albeit late. He blames Bastian and traffic. A likely excuse.

We note that Wilner has taken to referring to the Spring Training games as "fake games" as well. We got ourselves a meme started here! It's funny to see Wilner have to split hairs with the Jays-Yanks game tomorrow being the "real fake game", as opposed to the simulated games (presumably the "really fake fake games") that Dusty, Beej and Janssen will pitch tomorrow.

Early on, our Roy got tagged for a solo shot by Lance Berkman, while their Roy gave up an RBI double to Hector Luna. (Is he still around?)

Update, 3:30 pm: It's another fake loss, 4-3, with Brandon League taking the loss. (We await the Drunk Jays Fans post game interview with their favorite surfer boy.)

The Jays' pitchers (according to Wilner) were betrayed by faulty infield defense. Whatever people are claiming about Doc getting his personal SS in the regular season, we can't imagine that he'll be pitching in front of an infield of Luna, Scutaro, Adams and Thigpen very often this year. And thank the baby Jeebus for that.

Baseball on the TV. What a concept!

Since last weekend's CityStyle infomercial/telethon hardly counts as a baseball broadcast, we're excited to see some actual games make their way to the tube.

On Sunday afternoon, we managed to catch some Mets-Astros action on WPIX, and we tuned in to WGN to see a Cubs game only to be met by a broadcast of MXP: Most Extreme Primate (the Citizen Kane of snowboarding monkey movies.)

Sportsnet, which has apparently exhausted its supply of televised poker (Zzzzzzzz) will get into the baseball broadcasting game this week. On the slate are today's Red Sox-Yankees fake game at 1pm, and, wonder of wonders, tomorrow's Jays-Yanks game at 1pm as well. We're presuming that it will be the YES broadcast, so if you've forgotten how much you hate Michael Kay, you might want to record tomorrow's game to provide you with a helpful reminder.

Litsch still pink and efficient, though vaguely less round

We'd heard that Jesse Litsch was working out with Roy Halladay over the winter, which perhaps explains why Doc prefers the pinkly efficient starter as the Jays' number five guy. It also might explain why Litsch doesn't look nearly as round and doughy as he did last year. (Then again, it could just be that he looks slim compared to corpulent golfer John Daly, who was in attendance at Sunday's game. Musta been Free Hot Dog Day at the ballpark in Clearwater.)

Speaking of Litsch, here's our vote for the stunning meaningless spring stat of the weekend: Litsch struck out six in four innings as the Jays topped the Phillies 9-4 in Sunday's fake game. His game-high in 2007 was five strikeouts. Not that we want to read too much into Spring stats.

Drunk MLB Rumours
The Drunk Jays Fans' Stoeten has been handed the reins of MLB Trade Rumors for a few hours. True to form, he showed up late and hung over. Aside from that, we're amazed at how straight he's played it so far. Seeing the restraint that he demonstrated when blogging about Sidney Ponson makes us worry about the onslaught of filthy words and thoughts that are sure to spill out when he returns to his home digs.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

David Eckstein is a March Masher

We're no fans of scrappy, gritty, slap-hitting middle infielders. Unless they can hit the long ball, like Mighty Masher David Eckstein.

Little X hit a monumental towering shot deep into left* for a grand slam in this afternoon's fake game versus the Pirates. (*Or at least that's what we've read into Cathal Kelly's description on his liveblog of the game.)

This might be a little optimistic and premature, but based on today's performance we're predicting 30 homers for Eckstein this season.

Also, Dusty Lambchops is getting roughed up a bit, but we're not going to read to much into it. After all, it is just Spring Training.

Blairsy turns that frown upside down
In his mailbag today, Jeff Blair acknowledges the critical role our little blog post played in making him reflect upon his crusty ways, and in helping him to go forth with positivity and enthusiasm in all of his future pursuits. Like Oprah might say, we're changing the world and changing lives, one beat writer at a time. (You're next, Elliot!)