Some random baseball thoughts:
· Curt Schilling is a Hall of Fame phony. His performance in front of Congress was one of the all-time fold jobs when he backtracked on his steroid claims. But I’ll miss him. Schilling wrapped his arms around the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry like few others. In a day when most players say it’s just another game, he never did. Plus he was easy to hate and a good villain always makes any story better.
· It was cool that Japan and Korea played in WBC final. It’s a testament to the idea that running the bases, playing defense, bunting and having the pitcher throw breaking pitches at any point in the count actually works. They play baseball now the way Americans did back in the 1950s and 60s.
The Asian players have style, don’t they? Ichiro is a bad ass.
· That said, what incentive is there for MLB teams to keep supporting this event? Derek Jeter has been gone from the Yankees since March 2. He’s had a grand total of 29 at-bats and played six games in the field.
· Yu Darvish? Yu gotta throw strikes, son. Meanwhile, Korea’s Bum Ho Lee has the greatest name in baseball.
· T-Kep, Sandy and I tried to come up with a French WBC team during the rain delay on Monday in Clearwater. We decided the WBC “rules” would certainly allow Juan Pierre on the roster.
· I have an answer to the question, “What player surprised you in Yankees camp?” The answer is Eduardo Nunez. Keep an eye on him this season.
· CC Sabathia actually holds runners. He looks at them, slide steps and everything. This is something no Yankees starter (outside of Mike Mussina) has done in years with any degree of care. No wonder Jorge Posada blew out his shoulder.
· I’d like to see Austin Jackson and Brett Gardner on the same team. You can’t keep up with the Rays with the same old geezers.
· Joe Girardi is really trying to change his style with his players and coaches (and the media, for that matter). But the true test comes when they start playing games that count.
· Scouts from other teams rave about how much pitching the Yankees have in their system and the talent of the players who were with Single-A Charleston last season.
· i find the idea that Derek Jeter should go play the outfield to be ridiculous. We have no idea if he can as he’s literally never played there a day in his life. So his lack of range at shortstop will disappear in the outfield?
He’s your shortstop until his contract expires after the 2010 season. Then you have two choices: Bid him a fond farewell or offer him some sort of DH/super utility role at a respectful salary.
The Yankees painted themselves into a corner when they signed Posada for four years, A-Rod for 10 (Seriously, great idea Hank. Just excellent.) and Mark Teixeira for eight. You can’t move Jeter to first or third and Posada isn’t going to be an everyday catcher forever. He’ll DH at some point.
· It’s is pointless now to debate whether Xavier Nady or Nick Swisher starts in right field. What is important is how well Girardi uses Nady, Swisher, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui. Working those four players into three spots will be a daily question for him.
· The NCAA tournament has been sort of boring so far. Of the top 16 seeds, 14 made it to the Sweet 16. The other two are fifth-seeded Purdue and Arizona, a powerhouse program that landed a No. 12 seed. My Final Four — Pitt, Oklahoma, Michigan State and Missouri — is alive.
· It’s hard to take the NCAA women’s tournament seriously when seventh-seeded Rutgers hosts second-seeded Auburn in the second round. How is that fair?
· Somebody needs to tell Jay Cutler that he’s not good enough to complain about the Broncos looking at other quarterbacks.
· The iPhone has an application called Shazam that “listens” to a song, identifies it and then provides a link to iTunes to download it. I’ve picked up a few songs off the Nick Swisher playlist with it. Live Your Life from T.I. and Rihanna is a new fave.
· The new Facebook layout is egregiously awful. I spend easily 50 percent less time on the site as a result.
· Friday Night Lights is all-consuming. I want Bill Belichick to hire Coach Taylor to run his offense. Meanwhile, how does any college recruit Tim Riggins? He never goes to school or practice. Somebody needs to tell the writers that every high school game doesn’t go down to the final play. The Panthers need a few blowouts.
· Finally, a sincere thanks to everybody who has said hello during spring training. It has been a real pleasure to get to meet so many nice people. The best part about covering the Yankees is that so many folks have a genuine love of the team and are invested in the coverage.