Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 8
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

The Full Court Press

With baseball’s spring training under way, here are some things both of us would like to see happen in the 2009 season.

Billy:

A solid encore by the Rays.  

If the Tampa Bay Rays continue to win this season, they’ll show that an improving franchise does not necessarily win more and more games each season. Tampa Bay won last year’s AL pennant after finishing with the worst record in baseball in 2007, but that doesn’t mean it learned how to play baseball all of the sudden in one off-season. Third-baseman Evan Longoria wasn’t helping the major league club win more games in 2007 while he was in the minors, but he was still putting himself in position to contribute in the future.  

 Although there’s no sign the Rays were a fluke, remember that the Colorado Rockies found themselves under .500 for all of last season after they surprised the National League to win the 2007 pennant. The Rays return all their starters, except DH Cliff Floyd, whom they replaced with ex-Philly Pat Burrell.  

Yankees show they’re more than money      

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, building a team via free agents was the thing to do. Then teams such as the Rays come along and put farm-systems back into fashion and enforce the notion that a team stacked with superstars can’t possibly work. The Yankees have chance to show that players are capable of keeping contracts and egos off the field and out of the clubhouse. After all, someday the Rays’ Longoria and B.J. Upton will be “superstars” just like new Yankees C.C. Sabbathia and Mark Teixeria are.  

Players having fun

Controversies over steroids and big contracts sometimes make playing baseball little more than a player’s last hope of validating his reputation or living up to expectations as business assets. Infielders chatting with baserunners or practical jokes in clubhouses remind people that while sports provide society with much more than a game, the reason to play sports is to have fun. That doesn’t mean baseball should be any less competitive or that winning is any less important. In fact, it should show that competing and winning is fun.

Andy:

Griffey returns to Seattle good as new      

Ken Griffey Jr. is returning to the Seattle Mariners this season. While it’s a bit much to ask for him to play like a young kid again, it would be great to see him end his career healthy and productive. He’s been slowed by injuries ever since the Mariners traded him to Cincinnati in 2000, but Griffey was an idol for many people our age and it will be great to see him back to his old stomping grounds. For a season that’s starting in the wake of the A-rod scandal, having Junior back to where he was before the steroid era could be medicinal for the game. His return also breathes energy into the struggling professional sports franchises of Seattle.

Succession from Red Sox Nation

It’s time that the Red Sox accept their role as the evil empire of the last five years. They are not yet the new Yankees: the Yankees’ exorbitant off-season acquisitions should prove that much: but they are not the lovable losers they once were. Any Red Sox fan out there should not be indignant when the casual fans groans at another Boston playoff push. You’re not everybody’s second favorite team anymore; you’re annoying.

More coverage of the games and less soap opera

In our last column Billy and I wrote about the soap opera surrounding Alex Rodriguez and his admitted steroid use. This week, I can honestly pledge that type of behind the scenes story will no longer be printed in this paper. I hope ESPN follows suit, but it’s highly unlikely. Any more baseball is about the Yankees, Red Sox or Manny Ramirez. For someone that checks ESPN.com frequently throughout the day, I’m sick of seeing A-rod’s ugly mug staring back at me every hour of every day. Instead, media coverage should turn its focus to the play on the field. In order to do so, however, the other 103 names should be released so that the random and unfair speculation of any player for steroid use can end. Otherwise we’ll have five new commentaries every day indicting a new player with little proof but association.

Let’s play ball!

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  • M

    Melissa NavarroFeb 27, 2009 at 7:56 am

    I love this! You guys are doing a great job. I can’t wait to get more pre-season games underway just so I can get a good idea on who to look out for later on. I’d love to see more baseball coverage in the Pio that would be lovely 🙂

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