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Random Thoughts on Baseball's Opening Week

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

by Timothy McGinnis
April 9, 2002

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Random Thoughts on Baseball's Opening Week_Timothy McGinnis-The good, the bad, and the ugly. Baseball is finally back. You can tell because the “L” flag is flying above the scoreboard at Wrigley Field and boaters in McCovey Cove have to be on the watch for flying baseballs again. Here are some of my thoughts on the first week of the 2002 baseball season:
  • High-priced free agent and annual MVP-contender, Jason Giambi, is batting .143 with 1 RBI for the Yankees so far, but the Yankee starters are 5-0 with a 0.25 ERA since Opening Day. Yet another reason to hate the Yankees.

  • Dear Mr. Selig: Instead of contracting the Expos and another team, can we just combine the Cubs’ pitching staff (3.30 ERA) with the White Sox offense (6.8 runs per game)?

  • Jeff Kent deserves to lose part of his salary not because he lied about how he broke his wrist while washing his truck, when he actually broke it after wiping out while popping wheelies on his motorcycle; but because he or his agent or his publicist couldn’t come up with a better lie.

  • Having Derek Bell (batted .173 in 2001) threaten to go into “Operation Shut Down” would be like Arthur Andersen claiming that they will be looking to sever ties with a few of their clients.

  • I can’t stand Barry Bonds, but what he is doing is just plain incredible. I know it is only the first week of the season, but Barry has more homeruns (5) than outs made (4). He leads the majors with a 2.484 OPS (On Base Percentage + Slugging Percentage). The next highest total is Carlos Delgado’s 1.633. To put that in perspective, Bonds’ slugging percentage alone is 1.769. Why anyone would ever throw him a strike is beyond me.

  • The rooftop owners across from Wrigley Field are opposed to the new bleacher expansion plan because the proposed overhanging section will include support beams in the sidewalk. The group complains that this will lead to drunken fans urinating behind the poles, which is somehow perceived as worse than the current drunken fans urinating out in the open.

  • Cleveland pitcher, Chuck Finley, missed a start because he was kicked, hit and scratched by his wife, Tawny Kitaen of “Bachelor Party” fame during an argument. He has become the butt of numerous jokes because he refrained from smacking her back. Seeing as we hardly ever hear of a professional athlete exercising restraint in these matters, back off of the man. If a man isn’t allowed by society to defend himself physically against attack from a woman, then the “He got beat up by a girl” jokes need to stop. Though to be safe, next time he should just say that he got scratched and kicked accidentally while washing Jeff Kent’s truck.

  • Rickey Henderson finally signed his “John Henry” to a contract with the Boston Red Sox, thus beginning his 24th season in the major leagues. And Rickey was a base-stealin’ man, Lord, Lord. Yes Rickey was a base-stealin’ man. Not terribly bright though.

  • I wouldn’t normally be worried about Moises Alou being on the disabled list already because he has always been somewhat brittle and he replaced Rondell White, who spent so much time on the disabled list that I tended to forget that he was actually ever on the Cubs. However, two things have been keeping me up at night. One, he is the cousin of the ill-fated former Cubs free agent bust, Mel Rojas, and two, he hurt his calf while he was merely standing in the outfield. Though he did concede that while he was standing there, he was thinking about washing Jeff Kent’s truck.

  • Vicente Padilla of the Phillies pitched 6 innings of 3-hit baseball on Wednesday with the fly on his pants undone. If he is as superstitious as most baseball players are, he may try pitching completely pantsless in order to record a no-hitter.

  • Rod Beck used to say that he had never heard of somebody being placed on the disabled list because of “pulled fat.” However, Greg Maddux has come as close as anyone when he went on the disabled list with a strained buttock. Contrary to popular belief, Maddux was nowhere near Jeff Kent’s truck when the injury occurred. He fell off the back of Jeff Kent’s motorcycle while popping wheelies.

  • I’m having a hard time deciding which number is more bloated from the Expos-Marlins series, the 27.00 ERA posted by the Marlins’ bullpen or the 34,000 people in attendance for the home opener in Montreal.

  • Pedro Martinez bounced back from a career-worst outing in which he allowed 7 earned runs in 3 innings on Opening Day by allowing only 1 unearned run in 6 innings against the Orioles. My world makes sense again.

  • Commisioner Bud Selig claimed that a Forbes magazine story claiming that major league baseball had an operating profit of $75 million, as opposed to the $232 million loss that Selig reported to the House Judiciary Committee in December, was “pure fiction.” Even if that were true, shouldn’t Selig be ashamed that he headed an organization with $3.57 billion in revenues and still somehow managed to lose money? Jeff Kent’s truck is never around when you need it.

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