Don’t Call Me Frodo

Happy Monday!

So I couldn’t help but notice a few of the “prop bets” for the Super Bowl last night. Not that I condone gambling. But if there’s ever an over-under on how long a National Anthem performance will go, I’m taking the over every time. Why? Because, no matter what, the Super Bowl performance is always longer. Call it hogging the spotlight, call it striving for the best performance… it just takes longer.

There was also an over-under on Pete Townsend guitar windmills. It was 5.5. He probably doubled that during “Who Are You.” We probably knew he was going to go over 5.5 when there was a windmilling guitarist in the lights surrounding the stage (a great-looking light show, I might add).

As far as commercials, I was flabbergasted at the lack of monkey commercials. It is a scientific fact that commercials involving monkeys are funnier, and it’s stunning that more companies didn’t do it. Cutbacks, I suppose.

Also, it was good to see the OAC represented when Pierre Garcon scored the first touchdown of the game. He was a one-man wrecking crew when I saw him at Mount Union about four years ago. I’ll never forget him taking a kickoff on the run from his own 20, busting through the wedge, cutting to the far sideline and scoring, all in about 3.1 seconds. He’s good.

I’m happy to report that “Cat Bowl II” was quite uneventful at the Watson house. The cat who decided to soil my Super Bowl last year wasn’t up for a repeat. She did inexplicably pull a classic cat-freakout/jump-over-furniture dangerously close to me, but I escaped unscathed. I think the couch she jumped over/clawed was scathed, however. I watched a few minutes of the Puppy Bowl and it was far more interesting than the Cat Bowl. Big surprise.

You may be wondering what today’s title is all about. Well, I told you Friday I would have pictures which would make you insanely jealous. Unfortunately for you, I’m not talking about full-body shots, so dream on. I’m talking about the Midwest League championship ring I (and others) received on Friday. It’s actually my third title ring (easily the nicest), second as a broadcaster.  The other one I won as (technically) a player on a conference championship team in college. If by “playing” you mean practicing, keeping charts and occasionally pinch-running. As you can tell, wins have really followed the dollar in terms of inflation since my college days.

I also told you Friday I’d post the top 10 prospects I’ve seen in person during my extensive (three-year) career in baseball. The only rule is, I had to see the player in person. Here goes… It’s what I like to call the “Watson Files Take-it-to-the-Bank Top 10 Prospect List”

1. Matt Wieters, C, Orioles. Saw him in the Eastern League in 2008. Head and shoulders above everyone else. Approach, power, arm… Everything you’ve heard is true.
2. Jay Bruce, OF, Reds. Saw him in the Florida State League in 2007. Has some holes in his swing, but he has power, speed and arm. Part of a nasty Sarasota Reds team… After they swept our team in a four-game series, our hitting coach said they would contend in a Double-A league.
3. Chris Tillman, RHP, Orioles. Saw him in the EL in 2008. Big piece of the horribly one-sided Erik Bedard-to-Seattle trade.  Very young, fastball in the mid-90s, nasty secondary stuff.
4. Dee Gordon, SS, Dodgers. Saw him in the MWL in 2009. One of my
main criteria in these rankings is whether the guy has that “Oh Lord, anybody but him” quality when he’s coming to the plate/mound. Gordon does, and he’ll only get
better as he adds power. He just needs to play more.
5. Brett Lawrie, 2B, Brewers. Saw him in the Midwest League in 2009. If he stays at second base, he looks like he’ll be one of the best in baseball. If he doesn’t, his bat is still really good.
6. Jake McGee, LHP, Rays. Saw him in the FSL in 2007. He was on the same Vero Beach staff as Wade Davis (who had a 10-strikeout performance in the big leagues last year), and I liked McGee better. He had Tommy John surgery in 2008, so we could see a big-time comeback in 2010.
7. Simon Castro, RHP, Padres. Saw him in the MWL in 2009. I’m biased, but barring a catastrophe he’s going to be a really good pitcher in the big leagues. Fastball in the mid-90s, ungodly slider, improving changeup and a REALLY good dude.
8. Jordan Zimmermann, RHP, Nationals. Saw him in the EL in 2008. Another Tommy John guy who missed most of 2009, but he has a nasty repertoire. I have a soft spot for Division-III products (Wisconsin-Stevens Point), too.
9. Daniel Bard, RHP, Red Sox. Saw him in the EL in 2008. Probably the hardest thrower I’ve ever seen in person, including major-league games. When a guy comes in from the bullpen and it’s an event when the hitters foul pitches off, you know he’s good. Now if he could add a reliable off-speed pitch, you’d have your setup man in Boston.
10. Nolan Reimold, OF, Orioles. Saw him in the EL in 2008. He hit .388-10-21 in 22 games against my team (Harrisburg), so maybe I saw him at his best, but holy cow. There was a four-game series where he hit FIVE homers. Cannon arm in right field, pretty good contact hitter. That Bowie team he was on was ridiculous… Wieters, Reimold, EL Triple Crown winner Lou Montanez, Tillman and about three other nasty starters who made big-league debuts in 2009, a 30-year-old closer… They were loaded.

Honorable Mention: Wade Davis, RHP, Rays… Aaron Miller, LHP, Dodgers… Jaff Decker, OF, Padres… Josh Vitters, INF, Cubs… Casey Crosby, LHP, Tigers.

Loch Ness Monster List (Players I narrowly missed out on seeing and am still bitter about it): Matt LaPorta, OF, Indians… Johnny Cueto, RHP, Reds… Fernando Martinez, OF, Mets… Pablo Sandoval, INF, Giants.

Robert Duvall Late Bloomers List (Players I saw but didn’t believe would be good, but are): Both Marlins… OF Chris Coghlan (yes, NL Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan; he hit .200 in the Florida State League as a second baseman) and RHP Chris Volstad (8-9, 4.50 ERA in a pretty pitcher-friendly league doesn’t exactly scream productive major-leaguer, I don’t care where you’re drafted).

Mary Swanson “I Was Way Off!” List (Players I thought could produce in the big leagues, but haven’t (yet): OF Roger Bernadina, Nationals. Off-the-charts physical ability, but inconsistent (common story in the minors) and becoming injury-prone. Wilkin Ramirez, OF, Tigers. Almost went 20-20 in the EL in 2008, can barely get a cup of coffee in the big leagues.

Paris Hilton Memorial “Famous for Being Famous” List (players who get hyped and I don’t see it): There are about four guys I would put on this list, but I’m not going to. I was going more for the comedic effect of the list name.

I think that’s all for today… Take care!

DW

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