Pilkerton's Prognostications

This blog contains some of my past articles for the school newspaper and other musings I feel like posting. Beware liberals!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Baseball warms and icy heart (2005)


This week I should be writing about Terri Shiavo or about the passing of Pope John Paul II, but I'm sure I speak for many people when I say that I'm overwhelmed by the nonstop coverage of both news items.
My rebelliousness comes with a price though, good friends, I am now left to find another topic to occupy my column.
What is it that I should discuss this week? Instead of the usual political rant I think I'm going to be a little more upbeat and bipartisan in this column. I'm feeling reinvigorated because baseball is here, and nothing erases a long, horrible winter like the first pitch of the baseball season. And if baseball isn't your thing, then pay attention to the Papal Draft going on during the next week or so.
The early odds are on an Italian Pope named Donzietti, he ran a 4.3 and did 18 reps at the combine in Rome over the weekend and looks poised to be the top pick for Catholicism.
Despite the black cloud hanging over baseball due to steroid talk I challenge you to find a baseball fan that is not ecstatic about the opening of the season. Even the lowliest of creatures, the Red Sox fan is in good spirits this spring. The Yankees are back looking for revenge and even the perennially underachieving Mets have Pedro Martinez and his ailing back to look forward to this season. Yes, the smell of freshly cut grass and sunny, baseball filled afternoons are what defrosts this icy heart.
In seeing the season opener between the Yankees and the Red Sox I was brought back to last October when the unthinkable happened. The Red Sox fans have an even greater pitch to their whine now and I fear that nothing will be able to quiet them. As a lifelong Yankee fan I had grown accustom to the shrill cries of the Sox fan, even regarding the Red Sox fan with a measured amount of sadness, them having never known the sweet taste of success.
No more of that nonsense though, the gloves are off and there will be no more tolerance of the Red Sox faithful.
They finally have their rings and they believe that because it took them the better part of a century to gain them, that they are entitled to hang it over the heads of all baseball fans for an extended amount of time. As a representative for all that is good in the world I encourage baseball fans to remind the Red Sox of their place in annals of history and that even a broken clock is right twice a day.
This may be dismissed as the musings of a bitter Yankee fan, but not so, dear readers, I am a fan of baseball and it is for the good of the game that we shame the Red Sox fans in to submission. If Yankee fans are not allowed to gloat then the Red Sox fans should do the rest of the world a favor and reserve their bragging until the postseason when it matters.
With Randy Johnson's 92 mile an hour fastball to Johnny Damon a new season began and this season does not have magic in store for the Sox. Over the winter the Red Sox lost two key starters in Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe. While both these pitchers had fallen out of favor in the Red Sox organization the front office brass did not make sufficient moves to replace them. Pedro Martinez was a scrappy little whiner with a chip on his shoulder and jerry curl in his hair, but despite my allegiance to the Yankees I still respected him because of his intensity and his Clemens-like fearlessness to pitch inside and intimidate opposing batters.
The Red Sox no longer have that edge, instead they have the bellowing village idiot in Curt Schilling, his postseason ankle dramatics are still fresh in the minds of baseball fans and a certain number of these fans will take particular delight in his injury plagued 2005 campaign.
Even Sox fans agree that their pitching staff is mediocre at best this season and as we Yankee fans know, you cannot win without a top flight pitching staff.
Pitching is something that the Yankees have in abundance and it will most likely be the horse they ride all the way in to the World Series this year. The addition of Randy Johnson was exactly what the team needed after a 2004 season where their lack of a left handed pitcher was exploited. Johnson is 41 years old but being a power pitcher he should still have enough left in his arm to be a major force in the league this year. I am wary of Carl Pavano because of the Javier Vazquez disaster of 2004, but I will reserve my judgment of him and Jaret Wright until later in the year.
The offense for the Yankees is healthy and a menagerie of talent from top to bottom. The only question mark on the offensive side of the ball is Jason Giambi, but from all reports he has been hitting the ball sharply to all fields this spring and is poised to have a solid comeback year.
Regardless of your allegiances, Yankees or Red Sox, we should all be celebrating the opening of the 2005 baseball season. Spring is here and summer is on the way so put away your Red Sox: World Series Champions T-shirts and focus on this season. A new baseball season and a franchise Pope for Catholicism, yes, friends, I do love this season.


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