Hi Friends, if any
I had an inconsistent start and no finish at all last year, really, and it wouldn’t surprise me if I actually have no one at all read this post. Serves me right. (by the way, if you DO read this post, a 1-line comment saying so might help me decide to keep going). This post will probably have no real information at all, it is mostly a reminisce as I try to decide if I am going to keep going at all. But, as you will see, I will in fact probably try and may well do better than last season. Reasons below.
This blog started life as an email correspondence between me and my late friend Brian Hitchcock, sadly gone now for many years. Brian was so funny, and I was such a good foil for him, that the exchanges were pretty entertaining and one by one my three sons asked to be added to the list, and it became an email group, which simply meant that we did reply-all so everyone else could read the exchanges. My sons very rarely chimed it, but they enjoyed the posts. After Brian passed away, Mark decided to do a spring-review of all the MLB teams, in his honor. It was VERY well-done and it encouraged me to make almost daily emails to my boys, again somewhat in Brian’s memory.
Then something a bit odd happened: some of us showed some of the emails to other baseball fans, friends of ours, who asked to have their names added. At one point the list was about 15 readers, with half a dozen of them (you) making at least occasional contributions. We continued like this for several years. Then, a few years ago, it was suggested we make it a blog, the modern successor to an email group, and Baseball-Bob.com was born.
The problem, for 68-year-old me, is that there is even less feedback than there was with the email group. And my life got messy in other ways. And the Yankees got less interesting to me (important note: I HAVEN’T lost interest, either in the Yankees or in baseball, but I lost some interest in WRITING about it). All of my sons have pretty much moved on from baseball, and I doubt if any of them actually read the blog any more (if I’m wrong, guys, say so if you like). I do know that a few of the original group have faithfully followed the blog, and a couple of other friends/relatives began to follow the blog. With last season’s meltdown, though, and NO off-season at all, it is possible that there is no one left. If this is the case, thanks guys for your past support.
Meanwhile, 2017. I find that for the first time in a number of seasons, I am actually excited for the season to start! This ALWAYS used to be the case, but has not been for perhaps 5 years. The reasons for the past I won’t go into, but the reasons for this year I think I’ll outline here briefly:
1) The Yankees are exciting again. I have been optimistic in the recent past about their chances, but that is NOT the same as excited. Just two years ago the Yankees AMAZED me when A-Rod and Tex rose from the dead and played baseball (64 HRs between them!), and when Girardi coaxed 87 wins and a wild-card spot out of a roster projected to win about 75. But it was NOT an exciting team; it was a grind-em-out team, with old players with no upside and young players with no upside and players who held no interest for me (Stephen Drew, really?) I watched and I rooted and I marveled but I still wasn’t excited.
The 2017 version may well not win as many games as the 2015 team did – they project better than that team projected, but not better than it performed – but their upside is MUCH higher (of course, their downside is much lower – young players can break your heart). But they are EXCITING: even as A-Rod was WAY exceeding expectations in 2015, we knew that it was only a final death-rattle. But Aaron Judge could be ANYTHING from Giancarlo Stanton to Dave Winfield, To Cecil Fielder to Joe Schlobotnik (don’t get the reference? Think Charlie Brown). Gary Sanchez could be Johnny Bench or Thurman Munson or Shane Spencer (OK, Spencer was an outfielder, but a one-year, late-season sensation). Is Didi Gregorius for real (his rep: can’t hit lefties AT ALL – last year he hit .320 against them. His rep: good field no power – last year he hit 20 HRs). Greg Bird made a strong debut in 2015 for the injured but effective Teixeira, and then missed all of last year due to injury. it’s exciting to wonder who he will be.
2) The WBC, which excites only one fan in the entire country, apparently, is here again. And I am that fan. While I considered giving up my mlb.tv subscription last year, no way am I giving it up this year – they are going to carry every WBC game, and I may just watch them all. Followers may remember that 4 years ago I astounded them by admitting that I was following the WBC much more closely than the NCAA basketball tourney.
3) The historic number of superstar young players. Mike Trout has been the best player in baseball for years. Manny Machado could beat out Mike Schmidt to be known as the best third-baseman of all time. Bryce Harper is playing to become the first $400M ($500M?) player of all-time. All are not yet 27. And that doesn’t even count Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, Xander Bogarts (all Red Sox, BOO!) or Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, et. al.
4) NO curse stories! I am done with feeling sorry for the Red Sox, White Sox, Cubs, etc. The REAL curses are broken, The Indians are the oldest but they went to the 7th game LAST YEAR, so their fans get no gripe. If you want to feel sorry for a city, try Houston (when is the last time they won a championship in anything?) but maybe we can talk about baseball instead?
SO bottom line, I am going to try to more consistently post. If you care about that, which for the most part I understand that you don’t, you can encourage it with an occasional comment. Even a comment that just says “I’m here” is helpful, but something that might get me commenting or analyzing is of course even better.
I love this game!