Siberian Baseball

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Weekly Wrap-Up 4/15

It's Jackie Robinson Day in Major League Baseball and ESPN is doing a great job on the coverage as a whole.

So far, Robinson's wife, Rachel, Hank Aaron, Don Newcombe and Frank Robinson have been given a minimum of an inning each to talk to Jon Miller and Joe Morgan on-air, which they're using as a history lesson and to tell stories about Robinson.

While I appreciate the effort and the man they're honoring, they're really not covering new ground for baseball fans who have kept up with the game's history.

The popular refrain has been that with prominent African-American players following Ken Griffey Jr.'s lead in wearing the number 42 jerseys today, it will force the discussions about African-American participation in the sport (Note that this isn't minority participation, which is doing quite well) and to prompt conversations between parents and children about Robinson and his role in American history.

My big question is why do we need a special reason to talk about this? (Update: Looks like I'm not the only one.)

It's a bit of a disconnect on my part, but many African-American players and coaches are pushing for stronger marketing to the black community to encourage kids to start (and keep) playing baseball.

Why does this discussion only have a window once a decade when we remember Robinson? If there's a problem, why can't we discuss it all season? Better than that, why can't we discuss the instant money and relative better package given to athletes who select football or basketball - a better shot at a guaranteed education, not to mention no time toiling away in the minors - that makes baseball unappealing to talented, multi-sport athletes, regardless of their skin color.

Again, all told, it's been a fun night, with some good stories being told one more time from the game's old guard. I guess I feel about this in much the same manner as I feel about Valentine's Day - why do you need a special day to take care of things that should be discussed every day?

Also, my heart goes out to the announcers for the Dodgers, Cardinals and unknown other games today. I honestly thought that with every player on the team wearing number 42 that they'd add nameplates above the numbers. Nope.

* Weather continues to be a factor, with storms rolling east and rain shutting down several games this weekend.

Cancelled are games in New York, Boston, Philly, Pittsburgh and Baltimore and that's just Sunday.

At least it's not three feet of snow like Cleveland last week and you don't need to wait for rain to melt.

* The story that's under the radar, but that the real nutty fans are having fun with is the second week of play and second time through the rotation. While it's still too early to panic for anyone, a truer picture is starting to come into focus.

A pitcher gets shelled once and it's troublesome. A pitcher gets shelled twice and it starts to look like a trend. Three times? Might mean a bus ticket to AAA.

* Speaking of not panicking, Albert Pujols went yard twice today and had five RBI. I only wish there were people stupid enough in our fantasy league to bail on him for a slow start.

* BJ Ryan is out in Toronto with arm trouble and Jason Frasor is while Ryan heads to the DL. Given that all of the teams in the AL East have had solid starts, with each team having 10 or more games under their belts, this injury is worth keeping an eye on.

It's not an injury-bug thing, but I'm waiting for John Danks to come through soon and I'm keeping an eye on him as well. With five earned runs scattered over two games, it's not unheard of to have two losses hung on him so far, but just a little weird.

* Finally, Johan Santana lost - gasp! - at the Dome this weekend, which hasn't happened since before Joe Mauer was able to grow sideburns and was attending high school down the street.

Something tells me he'll rebound, but it's a real bummer that he pulled up one short of tying the record. Espcially against Tampa Bay and all... This is the equivalent of Kobyashi going down.

I have no idea how to process this.

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