The Commish Online www.thecommishonline.com
BLOG ARCHIVE: 03/01/06 - 03/31/06
In this case, the numbers don't lie: Todd Walker is the obvious choice. Walker simply gives the Cubs more of what they are looking for in a second baseman. Power and the ability to get on base are heavily in favor of Walker based on career numbers. Hairston is younger and the speedier one of the trio, so a small argument can be made for him. As for Perez, he probably shouldn't even be in the conversation. For starters, his hitting is abysmal, despite playing half of his career in Colorado. Perez' defense is supposed to be his advantage, but looking at range factor and fielding percentages, he is no better than Hairston or Walker, plus Perez played most of his career as a shortstop, so there will be an adjustment period.
If the only knock on Walker is that he has trouble turning the double play, then the Cubs' coaches just aren't trying hard enough. Hairston still has some potential in him, but Walker is clearly the best player.
Just days after preaching of my newfound love of all things WBC, the U.S. team demolished South Africa 17-0, toning down my love quotient a couple notches as the tournament struggles to find balanced competition across 16 countries. In fact, I think Dave Mathews played second base for the South African team. The next couple rounds should bring the love back up to a cupid-like level.
I take pride in my opinion, but I can also admit when I'm wrong. In the case of the WBC, I'm not exactly saying my constant ridiculing was wrong, but after watching a game, it is evident that the tournament is more important to players and fans of other countries.than I anticipated. Part of the problem, however, is the differing levels of importance this tournament means to each country. Watching the Venezuelans and the Dominicans right now on ESPN, it's obvious that the WBC is a big deal. The stars are all there (Pujols, Santana, Tejada, Zambrano, Abreu, Ortiz, etc.), but with so many Americans taking a pass on the series, it will be odd to see those teams face each other.
Phil Rogers wrote a good article in today's Chicago Tribune, helping to convince me that, at the very least, the WBC should make for some interesting baseball in March. Players are not porcelain dolls, and perhaps we overworry about potential injury. In the end, baseball is a non-contact sport and the pitchers have to get in shape at this time of year anyway. A friend of mine has been trying to tell me these very points for weeks now, but I have resisted accepting the WBC. Until now.
It's March and there's competitive baseball on television. Best yet, Jake Peavy will be throwing for the U.S. in about 30 minutes. Contrary to what I've said over the past month, leave the worrying to the owners and sit back and enjoy the game.
Combating the notion that the lack of a salary cap makes for a competitive imbalance in MLB, David Schoenfield wrote a fantastic article on ESPN.com. Read it here.
Needless to say, I'm a big baseball fan and should probably be focusing on the upcoming season just one week away, but it just doesn't get any better than the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. The Final Four doesn't always live up to expectations, but the tourney as a whole NEVER disappoints. It's amazing that in just 63 games, there can be so many games decided in the last seconds. With everyone's brackets "busted," this year's Final Four may just keep the madness going into April.
Thinking about drafting that power hitting piece of potential or that young arm that scouts can't stop touting in your fantasy draft next week? Think again. The latest Fantasy Focus warns of jumping on the rookies too early. The Commish recommends leaving the "sleepers" in bed.
If you are starting to prepare for your fantasy baseball draft and are looking for some young players with potential, avoid the true rookies (as a soon to be released Fantasy Focus article will demonstrate) and instead look to guys like Ryan Howard (LAST year's ROY), currently tearing up the spring with 8 HRs.
The NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament starts today, which means sports fans everywhere are currently in a state of overconfidence, each person thinking he or she is smarter than the next in terms of office pools ("Memphis in the Final Four? Are you stupid?! UCLA is going to cruise!"). Of course, the humility always kicks in when three of your Final Four teams are out by the end of this weekend. Because I couldn't possibly be wrong about my picks, you should probably know that Connecticut will defeat Texas for the crown.
Speaking of office pools, instead of blowing your hard earned cash on a losing effort like thinking Syracuse can continue its improbable run, enter one less pool this year and donate that money to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. It's guaranteed to be rewarding and you don't have to depend on Gerry McNamara to come through for you.
Trying to save Dusty Baker some time this preseason, I thought I'd make up his mind for him regarding the unnecessary debate over the starting job at second base.