|A Look Around MLB (Week One)||| Print |||Send|
Written by Adam Adkins (Contact & Archive) on April 03, 2008
Baseball is here, folks, and I for one am quite excited.Â I'm Adam Adkins, and I'm here for the first of what should be a weekly installment of my thoughts, rants, quips and beliefs on the game of baseball!Â Don't act like youâ€™re not excited.
All of that aside, a major point of contention among baseball fans lately is that Opening Day wasn't Monday, technically.Â For East-Coasters, "Opening Day" was actually "Opening Dawn", as the defending champion Boston Red Sox faced off with the Oakland A's at 6 AM EST last Tuesday, in a game held at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan.
My immediate feeling was one of, "so what?"Â Americans are a greedy bunch, you see; we do not like to share.Â But the thing is, Japan is easily baseball's second organized home (even if Latin America has more talent) and deserves its MLB games.Â But then again, was acknowledging Japan as a rightful secondary home of baseball the problem?Â No.Â It wasn't that we held games in the Land of the Rising Fastball... it was that we held Opening Day there.Â That, friends, is the issue.
That's something that I feel, too, actually.Â I've no problem with shipping out a 3 game set down in Florida overseas; no one goes to the Marlins' games anyhow (although I think I'd be inclined to watch Hanley Ramirez, myself).Â I'd bet you a grand that the Marlins and Pirates could sell out in Japan.Â But that's fine with us; no one gives a hoot about the Marlins and Pirates.
But the Red Sox, are, well, popular.Â The A's have a fan base too, but the Sox (not the White ones, either) are as popular as the Yankees or Dodgers.Â It's one thing to send a Boston or New York overseas during the middle of the season (which would present it's own serious difficulties), but not Opening Day.Â Opening Day is ours.
Now, of course, Bud Selig signed off on this because of the dollar figures thrown around at him.Â I get that.Â MLB probably made enough money from those two games to more than pay off Selig's growing salary by threefold.Â What it comes down to for me is the battle between making money and preserving tradition.Â Once again, in a modern sport, making money obliterates its competition.
You know who is really good at this baseball thing?Â That Fukudome guy.Â What it is it?Â Kosuko?Â Kosuka?Â Kosuke?Â Nice.Â Kosuke Fukudome.Â Sounds like a dead ringer ability-wise for Bobby Abreu, but that's just a guess from a mostly uneducated analyst.Â But try this debut on for size: 4 plate appearances, a walk, a single, double and a game-tying three run bomb off of Eric Gagne (who, if I may, looks like a picture perfect punching bag for all of your fantasy players!).Â However, and this is insane, he was caught stealing at third by Jason Kendall.Â Jason Kendall hardly has the arm strength to get the ball back to the mound after the pitch, man.Â However, my sources tell me that Fukudome was stranded after a wild pitch ended up not being quite so wild, or something to that extent.Â Either way, a good start for Fukudome.
Another tiny tidbit about that game, which saw the Milwaukee Brewers defeat the Chicago Cubs 4-3 in 10 innings... the game took less than three hours to complete.Â Beautiful.
The final Opening Day at Yankee Stadium has come and went, and the pitchers used in the Bombers' win is an interesting look at past, present and future.Â For the past (and still present, though) we have Mariano Rivera.Â No introduction needed there.Â Present is Chien-Ming Wang (and hopefully plenty of future), and Wang is a well-established but still somewhat unknown entity.Â Groundball no-strikeout guys don't always hang around, especially not against premier offenses.Â For the future, we have Joba Chamberlain (and a bit of the present, as well).Â Joba is a 22 year old flamethrowing rookie who has every tool you'd want in a young pitcher.Â Command.Â Movement.Â Velocity.Â And to think, I'd still rather have Phil Hughes.Â It's good to be a Yankee fan.