Here's Anthony Reyes' line from yest, erday.
Here are a couple of comments following that performance. Per Matthew Leach:
"For me, it was a real difficult game to evaluate the performances of the pitchers," Duncan said. "Odalis Perez was doing pretty good for five innings, if I remember right, and he's not exactly a top of the rotation guy. I actually thought Anthony threw better in the last game he pitched, in comparison to this one."
And this, from Joe Strauss
"I'm still looking for Anthony to do certain things that when you face first division teams you can compete against them and have a legitimate chance to be successful," Duncan said.
Earlier in the same article, however;
"I always say the bottome line is what you look at," Duncan said. "It's not how you get it but if you get it. In Anthony's case, the line is there today."
All right. Am I the only one who sees a bit of a disconnect here? In fairness to Duncan, he did say that only results matter. However, he also basically wrote off yesterday, mostly due to the wind. (BTW, game time the wind was listed at 12mph, blowing in. The average wind speed this spring has been around 11mph. I have a hard time believing the wind was a bigger factor yesterday than the rest of the time.)
Look, I will not claim that Anthony Reyes is a great pitcher. I won't even go out on a limb and say he's a particularly good pitcher at the moment. I like the kid; I think he still has a lot of potential. However, he was very bad last year. He was fairly bad, with a couple of notable exceptions, in 2006. I could go into all kinds of reason why I think he's had so many problems, but I won't. I'll just let the record stand.
When I see these sorts of comments made about a pitcher who just threw the game that Anthony did yesterday, though, I can't just let it go. After the gushing, the praise, the heaping of laurels, on the shoulders of Brad Thompson, for lesser performances, I just cannot let it go. After Todd Wellemeyer, with his >6BB/9IP, his inability to controlhis pitch counts, and, thus, his inability to go later in a ballgame than the fifth inning, is guaranteed a spot and commended for his efficiency, I just cannot let it go. And most of all, after a talented, struggling young man has worked his tail off, dedicated himself to coming into camp in the best shape possible, and conducted himself in as professional a manner as you could ever hope for, I just cannot let those comments go.
Anthony Reyes has pitched as well as any other pitcher in competition for a starting spot this spring. He has the second most strikeouts of any pitcher, the second best ERA, (despite throwing one game while still recuperating from the flu) and has walked almost no one. However, there is some mystical thing, some magical thing, some fantastic, bamstaferous, flamtabulous thing that Anthony Reyes simply does not do. Unfortunately, whatever that single thing is, it's the only thing that can possibly make him into a major league pitcher.
I cant' tell you he's a great pitcher. I can't even tell you he's all that good of a pitcher. I can, however, tell you that he's been a better pitcher this spring than the pitchers who have beaten him out for his spot in the rotation. And it flat out drives me nuts. Brad Thompson, Braden Looper, and Todd Wellemeyer will all be in the rotation come opening day. However, Anthony Reyes, despite having pitched better, will not be. Hopefully, though, he'll have the encouraging words offered up by his pitching coach as a source of comfort as he whiles away the hours in Mem-
Oh yeah, that's right. Never mind.
On a positive note, (and I do apologise for the negativity; I try to control it, but this just really rubs me the wrong way) I am enjoying watching a baseball game at five o' clock in the morning. A lot. I don't know if I can somehow get Japanese baseball games here in the states on television, but if I can, my joy will flow like roaring river from mountain tops, bringing gentle cherry blossom breeze to the valley.
On a related note, I know that Rich Harden can't stay healthy. But good god, is he ever nasty. (Jon Lester ain't too bad either, but Harden is just wicked.)
There's another thing that's upsetting me this morning. ESPN is currently running a series of interstitials, entitled, "Remembering the House that Ruth Built". It is, obviously, a retrospective on Yankee Stadium.
Currently, there is on running about Max Schmeling and Joe Louis. It talks about Schmeling defeating the heavily favoured Louis, etc., and then talks about the rematch in Yankee Stadium. The tagling, that Louis defeated Schmeling on the 22nd of June, 1938, in front of a raucous, celebratory crowd, contains a serious problem.
It refers to Schmeling as "Hitler's Champ."
You got that?
Max Schmeling is one of the most decent human beings you will ever read about. The man is a literal hero. It was a crime the way he was demonized in the 30s in America. The times being what they were, though, our perspective now has to be taken with a grain of salt. Was it right? No. Was it understandable? A little, yes. Schmeling was a German, fighting a black man in a time when Adolph Hitler was spouting propaganda about the superiority of his Aryan Master Race. You can understand a bit how the boxer could have been made a scapegoat. Again, it wasn't fair, but we can forgive. There was a tremendous amount of fear and anger. Rational minds struggles against the tide when the times are dark.
This is not the 1930s. This is 2008. We know the full story of the man. We know that he refused to join the Nazi Party and was punished for it. We know that he hid a pair of Jewish children, sparing their lives from the scythes of the German genocide. And yet, somehow, in this supposedly enlightened age, ESPN calls Max Schmeling, a man too principled and courageous to give in to the overwhelming press of evil, "Hitler's Champ". I don't care how much you want to elevate Joe Louis. Joe Louis needs no elevation. He was one of the greatest fighters who ever lived. He maintained tremendous dignity in an era when the black man was not supposed to have any. He is a beautiful, tragic figure, to be always remembered as the dark side of our own American Dream. Joe Louis needs no elevation. To demonize his opponent, even in a quick, thrown off television spot, seventy years after the fact, when we should all know better, when we do all know better, is the lowest, most despicable form of pandering. I am sickened. To hell with you, ESPN. And I have nothing else to say about it.
Manny just hit a solo home run. Rich Harden is still ridiculous.
Again, sorry for all the negativity this morning, everybody. Hey, there's a baseball game on today! The Wagonmaker will take the mound today, facing off against Jeremy Guthrie, Baltimore's own Opening Day starter. It should be a good one, and wonder of wonders, it's on television! Fox Sports Midwest, to be more specific. I can't express how exciting it is to have real baseball on TV again.
By the way, after watching Kyle McClellan pitch in Sunday's game, I'm softening my stance on Chris Perez making the major league team. Don't get me wrong; I still think Perez is ready to work at the big league level, but if it's between Wild Thing and K-Mac, (that's right, I'm coining my own nicknames for everyone and everything this morning) I don't think we can lose. Unless Cliff Politte somehow beats out both of them for a spot, I'll be happy. Both are very exciting, very promising young players, just the sort of player I'm looking forward to watching this year. Please, somebody, tell Cliff Politte can't beat them both out. For the love of god, tell me!!!
One last note, and it's a nice one. My Spring Surprise Position Player, Travis Mitchell, has been coming on strong the last few days. I believe he's slated to start the year out at Quad Cities; I'm planning to try and make at least one trip up there this year to get a look at a couple of the players on that squad, Mitchell high among them. Mitchell's a local kid, from Chesterfield, and I'm really excited to follow him this year.
Alright. I don't feel like quite such a downer now.