Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Diary: On The Way To Charleston

Wednesday, May 16

“How do you do it?
Make me feel like I do.”

On the road to Charleston, but figured since I had a little free time, I would get into non-trip related issues:

If he stays healthy (which is a big “if” for sure), I don’t know if there is any stopping Justin Verlander. Who right now in the bigs can boast what this guy does? Maybe some relievers can try (a certain Mr. Papelbon comes to mind), and maybe Jake Peavy out in San Diego (newest acquisition to the fantasy team…I know you love it), but really, Verlander’s mix of his near-100 MPH fastball with movement, coupled with an array of off-speed pitches, makes him one of the most dangerous pitchers in all of baseball. In all sincerity, I was thinking that there may be a little bit of a sophomore letdown, and that hitters could predict his tendencies and know what he was coming with, but apparently, that just isn’t the case, as was shown last night at Fenway, as Verlander proceeded to steamroll the Sox en route to a 7-2 victory for the Tigers. I am just so impressed my his -poise on the mound, especially in a big-time game against the team with the best record in the AL (I’m going to go with the theory that I will not get tired of saying the Sox are the best in the AL…kind of just rolls off the tongue) at their house. So I just wanted to take time out to kind of make note of that, because I have watched this guy pitch, and am just so impressed every time he takes the ball.

How about that incident in San Antonio? Hey Robert Horry, just because Nash is Canadian probably doesn’t make it ok for you do go all Chris Pronger on him into the scorer’s table (by the way, the double team hit of Pronger and Scott Niedermeyer on that guy from the Wings was absolutely brutal…kind of illegal, but definitely effective…yikes). Then, of course, the fallout from that was that Amare Stoudamire and Boris Diaw basically screwed their own team over big time for Game 5 by leaving the bench. You know, you would think these guys would learn one of these days. That rule was put into effect solely to prevent another Palace at Auburn Hills incident, and if you leave the bench for any other reason than subbing in, then you’re going to get reprimanded for it every time. I realize that, in the heat of the moment, after a bench player body checks the two-time (should have been three-time…where were you in Golden State Dirk?) MVP of the league, you’re probably going to get a little peeved…maybe want to spread a little violence around…I understand. But what players have to understand is that David Stern is doing anything and everything to remove the “thug” element from the NBA. And you know exactly what I’m talking about, so I’m not going to even digress into those details. In any case, while what Horry did was inexcusable (he was suspended two games I believe?...sorry, I’m on a bus, it’s wicked hard to do any stat checking), as a player of Stoudamire and Diaw’s magnitude (more so Stoudamire…no offense Boris), you have to know that letting your emotions go like that could really end up hurting your team, as was the case in this instance. Again, I understand the outrage, but you need to be able to keep your emotions in check, especially when you’re talking about the playoffs…yes, playoffs.

Dale Jr. was docked 100 points, and Tony Eury, Jr, Dale’s crew chief, got fined $100,000 for their involvement in an improper installation of the rear wind on Jr.’s #8 Chevy. Again, when will these guys learn? I mean the whole Chip Knaus incident at Daytona happened just last year, and yet, you have a crew chief of probably the most prominent car in NASCAR trying to get away with this. I’m not exactly sure what the inspection process is like before a race, but I can guarantee that it’s absolutely rigorous, and that there is very little chance you will be able to get away with anything illegal of the sort in terms of trying to gain an advantage. Also, could the timing for this to happen be any worse? I mean Jr. just announced he was leaving DEI and bringing Eury with him to the free-agent market. I don’t think that it’s going to really bring down the bidding war that will ensue for the right to get Jr. on a particular race team, but to me, it kind of vilifies Eury, who was looked at, and still is looked at, as one of the better chiefs in the business, but now, he has lost most of his innocence, and may start to drift into Knaus territory, where it’s almost impossible to trust the integrity of the person in charge of the upkeep of the car. I know it was only the first time, but that, to me, is one time too many. These guys know that they are going to get caught, so why even bother? NASCAR is doing everything in its power to make a push for parity in the standings, much like what the NFL does. With its “Car of Tomorrow,” as well as other annual rulings it comes out with, NASCAR is making it so that every car that rolls out is of equal standards, meaning the drivers, not the cars, are the ones who have to win the race.

Ok, game tonight pitting the Charleston River Dogs (Yankees) against the Rome Braves. I have a “quiz” tomorrow (yeah, again with the quotes…I know), but after that, I will keep you updated on how the game goes tonight, as well as some other thoughts-a-lingering. Take it easy now. Peace.


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