Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Arizona Teachings

My trip to Arizona taught me quite a few things in regards to baseball. I attended both of the Sox exhibition games at Bank One Ballpark, and also the final spring training game that the Royals and Rangers played in.

1. Be Thankful for David Ortiz - It seems that it seldom occurs to Sox fans just how good Ortiz is. No, I understand that we all love him, but do we really appreciate him as much as we should? I had the horror of viewing the wrost waste of a DH that I've ever viewed in the form of Calvin Pickering, the Royal's DH. He hacked away at every pitch like he was playing golf, and the only way he found himself to first base was that the Rangers' relief pitcher hit him with a pitch. Pickering fanned four times in the length of the game. Ouch.

2. Fenway kicks ass - Enough complaining about Fenway, folks. Yeah, its small and it has a funky smell to it, but it has character, something Bank One Ballpark sorely lacks. From the marble-floored giftshop to the mall-like concourse, it was hard to believe I was attending a ballgame, much less pay attention. And baseball with a roof over your head? Erg, doesn't work the same. Sure, Arizona definitely needs it, but that doesn't make it feel any less weird. It was a nice ballpark, yes, but it made me want to climb into one of Fenway's rickety, narrow seats and see a game in the chilly evenings of April.

3. Baseball isn't the same everywhere - Seeing a game at the BOB was like watching a minor league game in a major league park. Far too many promotions, really to the point where it seemed that that was the real focus of the day, not the game. Don't they think we'll come otherwise? Well, maybe Diamondbacks fans wouldn't come otherwise - during the singing of Take Me Out to the Ballgame, people yelling "Red Sox!" definitely drowned out those yelling the name of the home team in the line "Let's root, root, root for the Diamondbacks!"

4. Not all Royals fans are psychotic evangelicals - Shocking, I know, but no one tried to give me a Bible or baptize me at the game. Guess not everyone in Suprise is out to convert or punish.

5. Wally, though not a really legit mascot, is actually really not so bad - Three words: Baxter the Bobcat. The only solution to the most annoying mascot in the major leagues? Shotgun.

6. What happens in spring training stays in spring training - Well... this was more evidenced by Wakefield's performance today in addition to his performance during the second exhibiton game. Six runs in less than an inning versus two runs in 6 and two-thirds inning... well, that's definitely a relief.

EDIT: It has come to my attention that, sadly, Earl Snyder is now within the Devil Rays organization. As a result, the name of this blog will have to change. Expect to see it become Tim Kester's Dead Ringer, since knuckleballers are, in my opinion, the best type of pitcher out there.


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