Quick Fantasy Baseball thing

I know not everyone plays fantasy baseball, so I will keep this to one quick thing: I’d be downgrading Carlos Beltran in your pre-draft rankings. Part of Beltran’s value is tied to his speed and when I read this, all I thought was that he’s not going to steal many this year unless he shows a dramatic improvement soon. I know you are not supposed to read too much into spring training, but this is a big red flag:

As for Carlos Beltran, who made his debut as the DH, he remains a work in progress. Beltran went 0-for-3, grounding into a double play, and told reporters afterward that his left knee is feeling sore. Not the sharp pain of a year ago, but it seems that his knee is absorbing too much of the pounding lately due to his weak left quadriceps muscle.

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At least their lockerroom is feeling good

Thankfully the Bonds cloud has lifted the spirits and joviality in the S.F. Giants lockerroom this season as Keith Law notes (Insider access required, sorry), it’s going to be a long, ugly season for the black and orange:

Giants’ fans are in for a long, ugly season. The team started nearly all of its projected regulars on Sunday against Morales and a JV Colorado squad — Todd Helton, Troy Tulowitzki, Matt Holliday, and Brad Hawpe all stayed home — and lost 10-2, mustering just five hits and playing some uninspired baseball. The buyer’s remorse may already be setting in with Aaron Rowand, who looks out of shape and didn’t run out a two-out groundball in the first with a man on third. Ray Durham is a statue at second base. Other than Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum, there aren’t many reasons to go see the Giants this year; check back in 2010 when the fruits of the ’07 draft start to trickle in.

It’s good to hear back from Keith after about a month’s hiatus from his blog.

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Beckett's an ornery sort

Not that I’d blame him one bit, but seems that Sox ace Josh Beckett’s back is barking and he’s pretty ornery about it. Except that folks are seemingly forgetting his “injury prone” label he wore proudly before last year. Remember the blisters, disk issues, etc. (see bottom of posting)?

He did an admirable job trying not to blame the mound conditions (and grounds crew, by proxy) but he was definitely wearing his angry pants today:

“I don’t know. If I’d had as much progress from yesterday to today as I did from the first day to the second day, I wouldn’t have ruled that out. Today I’m just holding up my obligation (to talk to media). It probably would have been better to talk to you guys yesterday because I was a little more optimistic. I’m in a pretty crappy mood as far as this thing goes because it was a pretty frustrating day because yesterday was good and today’s kind of horse(bleep).”
“Yes. We’ve done a number of tests. There’s nothing wrong with the disks, and I think that’s what they wanted to make sure of. It’s definitely a strained muscle or pulled muscle, whatever you want to call it. It heals when it heals.”
“I was a lot more optimistic yesterday than I am today. A lot of that has to do with being in a (expletive) mood because I didn’t sleep well.”

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Rangers to close Yankee stadium

I think it’s a great idea.

I don’t want to hear the “purists” who insist that the last game in Yankee Stadium MUST be a Yankee game. So what? Who’ll ultimately remember that? But a rare outdoor Rangers game in Yankee Stadium could be incredible.

The House that Ruth Built is on track to be the house the Rangers bring down.
Momentum has built in recent weeks toward finalizing a deal that would have the Rangers play the final game in the storied history of the current Stadium, the Daily News has learned. The Yankees, who will move into their new Yankee Stadium for the 2009 baseball season, are said to be completely on board with having the NHL close the 85-year-old original.

So spare me the hystrionics and chest beating. This will be great. I’d prefer to see the Rangers play one of the Original Six, particularly the Canadiens (the Yanks of hockey, or are the Yanks the Canadiens of baseball?). But I’d take a nice rivalry game against the Islanders any day of the week. Just to hear the “Potvin Sucks” chant from 57K people outside rather than 19K inside.

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You ain't getting squat

For all those, like me, who dig memorabilia, don’t hold your breath waiting for the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation to hold an auction of any and all Yankee Stadium “stuff”.

The department has operated the ballpark since the city purchased it from the team in 1972. There’s no timetable set yet for the demolition of the famed stadium, which has stood near the Harlem River in the Bronx since 1923, nor have details been finalized for the planned auction.

Even the Baseball Hall of Fame, which certainly will be in line ahead of the public, doesn’t have any grand expectations.

Remember, everything was new after the (1973-74) renovation,” said Jeff Idelson, Hall of Fame vice president. “We already have Babe Ruth’s locker and one than was used by (Joe) DiMaggio, then (Mickey) Mantle and Bobby Murcer.”

I’d love to buy a strip of 3 seats (and I know it’d be much to my wife’s dismay) and find a home for them somewhere. I can imagine having those three blue seats next to the sofa, watching a nice flat screen….Even if they are not the “original” Yankee Stadium seats, it’d be great to have a piece of history.

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Vegas, baby, Vegas!

A programming note: Unless something jumps up early Thursday, I will likely be on hiatus until Monday. A long-planned, eagerly-anticipated Boys Weekend in Vegas is the reason. And a darn good one, I think.

No truth to the rumor that I am stalking the ESPN Fantasy guys; purely a coincidence, though Berry went to Syracuse the same years as me. Can’t say I remember him from school though.
And what is happening there Friday, March 7, is the Las Vegas Fantasy First Pitch Party at the ESPN Zone in the New York, New York Hotel & Casino. Free to attend, free refreshments and, most importantly, free advice for the upcoming fantasy baseball season. Join me, Eric Karabell, and Stephania Bell (our injury expert) at 7 p.m. this Friday.

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Great news: Murcer cancer-free

GREAT news for a wonderful ambassador of the game!

We received great news this morning,” Murcer said in statement released by the Yankees on Wednesday. “The biopsy revealed scar tissue. It showed no signs of cancer. It’s what we had hoped for all along. I plan on resting at home over the next few weeks and focusing my energy on returning to the stadium for its final opening day. My family and I thank everyone for their prayers, e-mails, cards and thoughts.”

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Word of the Day: Complicity

complicity [kuhm-plis-i-tee]
the state of being an accomplice; partnership or involvement in wrongdoing: complicity in a crime.

Another very well done article from ESPN’s investigative reporter TJ Quinn about how the culture of baseball helped steriod usage blossom since the 1980’s.

Center in Quinn’s article is how tainted Torre and LaRussa have become as a result of the Mitchell Report. Quinn mentions that 20 players named in the Report have been managed, at some time, by Torre. That’s pretty incredible. LaRussa’s blind loyalty to McGwire is particularly damning, as is his Oakland/St.Louis loyalty to Dave McKay:

LaRussa’s longtime first-base coach, Dave McKay, has never been accused of directly aiding and abetting steroid users, but he was certainly in their proximity. LaRussa made McKay his first strength coach in Oakland; McKay says he never thought that the change in player physiques had anything to do with drugs.

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Things that make you CRINGE

I type this with my teeth grinding together. Have fun. (thanks to Rob Neyer for furthering the pain, Insider access required)

Felix Pie seems to have gotten his juevos twisted. Good lord. Although, I knew a guy who had this happen back in college and I remember hearing him scream in pain. Can’t be a pleasant thing.

Felix Pie missed a couple of days early because of a twisted testicle.

Reliving Junior Griffey’s hurt, though this dates back to last Fall:

Griffey said he didn’t remember anything after the initial shock of pain. He said he knew he threw it, but not sure where.”The best way I can describe it is it felt like somebody bungee jumped off my right nut,” Griffey said.

Although, seems that Junior has a proclivity to injuring his twig and berries.

Ken Griffey Jr. once missed a game for the Mariners when he pinched himself with his protective cup.

hat tip to 100% Injury Rate who has the definitive list of dumb sports injuries.

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