Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I'm Back and It's Official, The National League Rules!

I have been asked by more than one person when the splog was returning. It seemed as though every time I was ready to jump on board and make that committment something happened, and it never seemed to be good. However, after humming and hawing for about a month now, and watching MLB Extra Innings, I figured it was time. I'm not going to try and catch up on almost a six months of events, but I do want to hit key things.

1. The Patriots losing the Super Bowl was more traumatic than the Yankees blowing the 3-0 lead in 2004.

2. Matt Walsh needs to crap or get off the pot, as my 90 year old grandfather would say.

3. The Boston Celtics are just a freaking phenomenal basketball team and anything short of title 17 will be awful.

4. I truly hope the Pats fleece the Cowboys in a draft day trad when McFadden falls due to character issues. Imagine Jones giving up his two first round picks and Marion Barber for #7? Quick someone circulate a McFadden failed drug test rumor...

5. Joe Girardi is going to be a phenomenal Yankees manager ( by the way, I stated after he got let go in Florida he was going to be the next manager of the Yankees. I just want to point out I was right. It doesn't happen that often, and I need my moment in the sun. Thanks!)

Now that those are out of the way, I have an announcement. Not earth shattering, but different.

I like watching the National League more than the American League. Not by a small margin either.

Yes I know, pitchers aren't always great hitters. Yes I know they haven't won an All-Star Game since 1879. I, however, have found some amazing things about the NL.

1. The games are quicker. I can generally watch an NL game in under 2 and a half hours, and I can even watch the late NL game and be in bed by 1 am. The Red Sox and A's are playing at 10pm tonight, that game won't be over by 5 am.

2. The NL has better announcers for their TV broadcasts. No Hawk Harrelson's, Michael Kay's or Rex Hudler's killing my eardrums. Gary Cohn, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling are awesome and make me way more interested in the Mets than I have been in my entire life. Don Sutton does Nats games and covers up the play by play guy well. Bob Brenly is good with the Cubs, Mark Grace is awesome with the D'Backs, and the legend himself, Vin Scully, is still kicking and is as sharp as he ever was. None of them are trying to sell their own T-Shirts, come up with annoying catch phrases, or act like the biggest homers in history. They actually tell me what is going on, and Darling and Hernandez are probably the best I have ever heard analyzing the game, which is surprising because just looking at the two of them I would think they are the biggest douches on the planet.

3. Pinch-hitters and double-switches are great. Yes I know, when a pitcher strikes out and snuffs out a rally it's irritating, but late in a game you can actually figure out who the pinch-hitter will be, who will be the defensive replacement, you know, thinking. During a baseball game. Remember watching a baseball game and thinking, not just waiting for the David Ortiz home run? One of my favorite story lines this year is how Joe Torre will react to playing by NL rules every day. The big news in LA right now is the benching of Juan Pierre in favor of Andre Ethier, but think about it, won't Pierre get some playing time? I mean, in left field, pinch running, bunting, double switches, he will probably get 350-400 at-bats this year. He's still overpaid, but he won't be getting splinters in his ass (I'm talking to you Shelley Duncan).

4. The pitching is better. Johan Santana, Jake Peavy, Dan Haren, Brandon Webb, John Maine, Carlos Zambrano, and that's just to name a few. The best starters in the AL are Josh Beckett(back issues now and a bit of an Erik Estrada stomach going into the spring), CC Sabathia (Sid Fernandez part 2), Erik Bedard (the JD Drew of pitchers), Felix Hernandez (still not mature enough to make a jump), Roy Halladay (wins a lot of games, but he doesn't strike out anybody). I really had to sit down and think of good AL pitchers. The NL guys are durable, filthy, and mow down batters left and right. I would much rather watch a well-pitched game than a 9-8 slugfest but hey that is just me.

5. The NL could be won by anyone. Think about it, Colorado went to the World Series last year. Everyone and their mother had the Yankees, Sox, Indians, Angels, Tigers and Twins as part of the AL winners in last years preseason predictions, but who had Colorado? This year isn't much different, as the usual suspects in the AL are there (Twins have dropped out and have been replaced by Seattle), but the NL has the Mets, Dodgers, Cubs, Brewers, Braves, Padres, Phillies, Rockies, hell even the Nationals (maybe not). Would you be stunned if any one of those 9 teams won the NL? Outside of the Marlins, you can make a case for almost every team in the NL. Before you laugh that off and say "It's like the NFC in football", remember, the NFC won the Lombardi Trophy last year.

So yes, it's true. I will be watching a lot of National League ball this year. Probably more than the AL. It was a tough decision, and I want to thank my family and friends for sticking by me during this time of transition.

Melky Cabrera helped give Joe Girardi his first Yankee win tonight with two great back-to-back catches and a Yankee Stadium homer. I was very glad the Yankees did not trade him this summer, I don't think he will be a superstar, but he will be steady. Joba looked a little off tonight, but still managed to do the job, and Mo Rivera looked sharp. That game tonight was a game the Yankees would not have won last year, no doubt in my mind.

Pedro Martinez didn't pitch all that great but got a standing ovation after a 12 pitch at bat he had. Two innings later, he left after hearing a pop in his hamstring. In related news the AARP is reporting there is no truth to the rumor that the Wilpon family is attempting to get them as a secondary insurance for the Mets active Roster.

By the way, guess who is starting left field for the Dodgers tonight? That's right, Juan Pierre. When I'm right I'm right. Apparently he is going to play left during Derek Lowe's starts for defense.

If Bengie Molina raced a turtle from home to first, who would win?

Bad night for the Mets, they lose the game and Pedro. Quick, someone make a cock fighting joke.



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