royally f**ked: my SB cohort Royals Review links today to an article that casts the royals-cards rivalry in corporate terms: wal-mart v busch. puts me in a there-but-for-the-grace kind of mood; stl fans lucked into the more benign overlordship, but we just as easily could have ended up as another central-division backwater with no prayer of competing. there are some proud franchises and fan bases out there rotting -- pittsburgh, cincinnati, detroit, kansas city -- and mlb has no hope for them. the commish's office falls all over itself to address the steroid thing, while the have-vs-have-not divide grows wider by the year. the royals are looking for a new skipper and trying to establish a talent base they can grow with (and afford); Royals Review has all the latest.
a current affair: a rivalry named for a frickin' highway? i hate that. in my space the ann'l cards-royals showdown will be referred to now and henceforth as the missouri river series. and you'll find no better preview thereof than at (i'm counting on you, scott) cardnilly, which today also has a wrapup of the series just concluded (farewell, accursed phils). get up baby renews the edmonds-for-hall campaign (which seems to be gaining adherents, i might add), and the birdwatch takes stock of the birds at the quarter pole. a sneak peek: "So far this [grudzielanek] is the best free agent pickup in baseball . . . . while Zone Rating leaves something to be desired, it does confirm my suspicions that Eckstein's near the bottom of the league defensively. . . . Jim Journell, Carmen Cali and Kevin Jarvis: let's just pretend that didn't happen."
ground control: mark mulder this year is 3d in the nl in gb/fb ratio at ~2.75 (depends which source you check) -- almost 50 pct above his career avg (~1.90). his career best came last season, at 2.05; second-best season was year before that, at 2.01. like the trend.