It's not quite Brendan Ryan and Joe Mather—alas, what could be?—but I have to say that I'm enjoying the entire Cardinals squad's ongoing faux-celebration of World Series MVP David Freese, immortalized today in the Post-Dispatch and seen earlier in Matt Holliday's Freese shirt and Jon Jay's Freese bobblehead, and what better time to say so than Valentine's Day? (This is like grade school Valentine's Day, when you have to give an X-Men valentine to everybody, even the people you hate. Only the valentines all have David Freese's picture on them, and he probably hates it.)
This is one of those nuances I sometimes have to spell out for people who enjoy baseball differently than I do—who don't care about the numbers, who see them, even, as the symbol of some ongoing dehumanizing of sports. I don't think team chemistry has a lot to do with a baseball team's success, and I think most winning teams have good chemistry specifically because they're winning, not the other way around.
But of course I want the players on my favorite team to like each other. Of course it's easier to root for David Freese than Pete Rose, and to get involved in the 162-game story of human beings who play squash in the offseason and tweet like I would, if I were into Creed or had millions of dollars, than it is to cheer on the blind backs of baseball cards. They're playing baseball for a living, to resurrect an ancient crotchety-sportswriter trope; they don't have to have a good time in the course of it, but to people who don't play baseball for a living, who don't spend half the year traveling across the country with their teammates, it's pretty to think so.
Veteran free agent watch:
- Dmitri Young! The Pittsburgh Pirates offering a minor league contract to Dmitri Young would be perhaps the greatest public service they could perform for the National League Central. Casey McGehee and Garrett Jones are both probably better than Dmitri Young at this stage in their respective careers, and McGehee isn't 30 yet, but neither of them is nicknamed Da Meat Hook or a refugee of the pre-McGwire Cardinals.
- Roy Oswalt! Roy Oswalt. If the Cardinals' pursuit of Oswalt were one of those romantic comedies that are, in the end, not about romance at all but about vague Hollywood ideas of female empowerment, I like to think Walt Jocketty would be our sassy, single older friend who tries to tell us about Roy, even though we refuse to take her advice until it's almost too late. Apparently the Reds haven't been talking to Oswalt, and here's why: "I think he's waiting for Texas to clear money." Texas. She just makes me so—ugh!