April 14, 2007

Musings on America's Game and ESPN

  • Several things are encouraging about the Longhorns' first game against Texas Tech Friday night. First of all, James Russell and Adrian Alaniz absolutely have to be on top form if Texas expects to make noise in the postseason, because they are thin in the rest of the starting rotation (although it must be said that Joseph Krebs has been showing steady improvement). Second, Bradley Suttle's 3-for-4 night is huge as he was in danger of dropping below the Mendoza line-times-two. OK, so it wouldn't be that big a deal if his batting average fell under .400. But it's really cool that he's still above it. Third, it's good to see someone other than Randy Boone have a solid outing from the 'pen. Finally, assuming they hold on for the win Saturday, Texas continues their trend of getting ahead in each series by taking Game One.
  • The spate of rainouts and snow-outs across the Major Leagues is getting frustrating. last night the Cardinals fell victim for the first time, and their game against the Brewers has not been set for rescheduling yet.
  • Speaking of the World Champions, today they will play the Milwaukees in New Busch. The funniest thing about the game? Erstwhile Cardinals postseason hero Jeff Suppan (who looks like our friend Brian's dad) comes in to pitch for the enemy with his 0-2 record and 4.15 ERA. The cardinals throw the only guy they went out and got to replace him, Kip Wells: 1-1, 1.38. It's too early in the season for ERAs to really mean much. But it's still fun to see early on how much money other NL Central teams wasted on average pitchers who came up big once for St. Louis (you listening, Cubs?! How's Jason Marquis working out for you?).
  • It's been interesting to see the Jackie Robinson tributes so far this year. Some people have complained that it's silly or cheap to have so many players wearing number 42 tomorrow (including 5 entire teams, one of which is the World Champions). We happen to agree with Mike Golic on this issue. Golic said on the radio this week that, while it may seem to us "older" fans that be overdoing it, every kid who turns to his mom or dad to ask why everyone is wearing 42 and learns about Jackie Robinson will make any minor annoyance worth it and then some. He's right.
  • The other interesting way in which Jackie-mania has manifested itself is ESPN's constant reporting on the fact that fewer and fewer black American children are interested in baseball. It would be nice to see a a youth sports culture where parents don't all think their kid is going to the pros, where kids don't feel compelled to specialize in a specific sport by age 10, and where kids of all races feel comfortable and excited trying out all different sports. But we're not holding our breath.
  • Speaking of ESPN, unless you've been living in a bunker the last two weeks, you've undoubtedly heard that ESPN has a new ombudsman. You can check out her latest column here, and it seems to be so far, so good for Le Anne Schreiber. Anybody working for ESPN that has the gumption to call Skip Bayless "absolutist" is okay by us. Hopefully she can keep up the good work in the future.

No comments: