February 4, 2013. Scottsdale, Arizona All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go… No, I am not channeling John Denver. In fact, my bags are unpacked because I have made it down to Scottsdale to prepare for another spring training with the Colorado Rockies. Hard to believe this will be my 11th season with the team. I have been blessed. Anyway…thanks to some gentle prodding from several people, I am undertaking my first attempt at blogging. The frequency has yet to be determined, and the subject matter won’t strictly be baseball, but enough folks seem to be interested in my thoughts and opinions on a variety of subjects, so I am happy to comply. My hope is these musings will be of interest. Your feedback will be appreciated.
The most surprising aspect of this first full day in the desert is the number of players who have already arrived. Actually, it is understandable that many of the players would arrive early (Pitchers and Catchers aren’t officially on the field until this weekend) since the facilities here are the best in baseball. Still, the fact that more than 25 players can be seen getting work in on the various fields here at Talking Stick is impressive. Watching a first-year manager run his initial spring training will be interesting, and there are enough characters on Walt’s staff to keep things entertaining throughout the next two months.
There will be plenty of time to talk about the 2013 edition of the Rockies in the days ahead, so let’s move on to some other topics.
SUPER BOWL: Very entertaining game and a terrific performance by Joe Flacco. As a former wide receiver, and still a volunteer coach on the high school level, Michael Crabtree was the real culprit, not the officials, in denying the 49ers a chance to take the lead in the closing seconds. Why? In press coverage with the defensive back playing to the inside, there is no need to initiate contact on a fade route. Had Crabtree just made a jab step towards his defender and then raced away towards the back pylon of the end zone, we might be talking about the great comeback win of the Niners and not the second Super Bowl title for the Ravens.
MOVIES: The chorus has grown, so my voice is just another one, but how could Ben Affleck not receive a nomination for Best Director? I have seen most of the nominated movies this year and ARGO was the one for me. How can a movie be the best and its director not even get a nomination? I guess Ben is the Albert Belle of this year’s Oscars. Albert Belle, you ask? In 1995, Belle was clearly the best player in the American League with numbers that would rival any put up in a 162 game season, and he did it in 144 games. In 4 fewer at-bats, Belle had a higher batting average by 17 points, 23 more runs scored, 8 more hits, 11 more homers, 5 more walks, 24 more doubles, and the same number of RBIs as the top vote-getter, Mo Vaughn. That doesn’t even take into account the fact that he is the only player with 50+ HR and 50+ 2B in the same season in baseball history (Todd Helton had 54 homers but 49 doubles in 2001). Belle finished second by 8 votes. I guess when you rub people the wrong way; it costs you at the ballot box. Such must be the case with Affleck, too. That’s it for my first effort. I will keep you posted as things move along. One final note—if you didn’t know it—I am a big blues music fan. My “check-it-out” for this blog is Ruthie Foster. I realize she has been around for some time, but I have just discovered her music. Quite a talent…check it out!