The No-Tiger Zone
I hope you enjoyed the long weekend. I know I did, although I’m slowly coming to the conclusion that I am old. Used to be I could hammer a Thanksgiving lunch, be completely stuffed, then rebound like Hulk Hogan during one of his epic comebacks where he kept walking around shaking his arms, then eat a huge dinner mere hours later. No more. It was one lunch and done for me. Embarrassing, especially since I consider one of my crowning moments to be the time I put down 50 wings at the greatest wing establishment of all-time.
For as much as I talked up the day before Thanksgiving (better known as Thanksburning Day), I suppose I should show photographic evidence that it actually exists. Well,
here it is… a couch being completely consumed by flames. Sorry to everyone in the Pennsylvania-Ohio-Indiana-Idaho area who may have been confused by the bright lights in the sky… It was just us.
Now for the baseball… Alan Zirkle, who has been reading this all the way back to the dark ages of pre-Parkview Field (and came on The Watson Files Tour-a-Palooza Experience), asked me the other day when we’ll find out who the players will be for the 2010 TinCaps. The answer to that is this: About 5 minutes before they get on the plane to come to Fort Wayne. You think I’m joking, but I’m not. There’s really no way of knowing right now who will be here. You might have educated guesses, but especially with the retooling of the Padres’ front office, a lot of things are up in the air.
If you’re not familiar with how minor-league spring training goes, it’s pretty much guys showing up, running through drills for a few days (maybe as long as a week), then splitting up into their classifications (Triple-A, Double-A, etc.) and playing games against other organizations’ teams from the same classification. So the Padres’ Class-A team might play against the White Sox Class-A team. As injuries and performance warrant, guys are moved up/down and eventually by the time spring training is over, players get their Opening Day assignment and hop on the plane to wherever they’re assigned. If you don’t make a full-season club out of spring training, you stay behind for extended spring training. Which nobody wants or likes, but it happens for one reason or another, whether it’s injury recovery, getting extra work, etc. So, to recap, we don’t know who’s coming to Fort Wayne in 2010 yet and we won’t know for a while. On the other hand, I’ve heard rumors on the internets that we’ll find out soon about who our field staff will be. How soon? You’ll know when we know. As usual. So relax.
Some other organizations have already announced their field staffs for 2010. Burlington and Cedar Rapids both have their staffs back, Lansing is getting a new staff including manager Sal Fasano, who had some of my favorite facial hair in baseball in the last decade. Dayton still has Todd Benzinger as its manager, but Ken Griffey, Sr. was named their hitting coach. Quad Cities has a new staff. I think that’s all that we know so far.
A lot of people might assume ballplayers just work out and relax during the off-season, but some finish their college degrees or get real jobs. I remember reading stories about some guys who delivered sub sandwiches by bicycle in the winter months. Darren Ford, who I saw in 2007 in the Florida State League, was closing up for the night at a car dealership and was robbed at gunpoint. He was OK, thank goodness.
In happier off-season-job news, Ross Ohlendorf of the Pirates is interning with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. One can only assume he was the top dog in his FFA group growing up.
In sadder non-job news, Charlie Weis got fired. I kind of feel bad, because Notre Dame leads the galaxy in playing close games regardless of the opponent’s record, but Notre Dame also leads the galaxy in deluded followers who think their team is good because the 1924 team was good. I caught the fourth quarter of the game at Stanford on Saturday and was horrified to see Stanford rush the field after the game. I get that it was their first win against Notre Dame since Julius Jones and Carlyle Holliday were running around (2001), but come on. This isn’t you’re great-grandpa’s Notre Dame football team. They’re 6-6. You know who else is 6-6? Wyoming. Michigan State. Louisiana-Lafayette. Now they have to figure out if they want to go to a bowl or not, as ridiculous as that sounds.
What about the draft-eligible players? I really did feel bad for Jimmy Claussen after the game. Here he was, a legitimately good player on an average team, giving a post-game press conference sporting a black eye from getting punched by an idiot fan outside a restaurant, his coach is getting fired and he just lost to end the season at 6-6. No way would I come back if I was getting drafted in the first three rounds.
Alright… That’s enough for a Monday. I should post something Wednesday.