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(Dion) James and the Giant Peach

Keep in mind that this was written by someone who spent more than $1,000 on a trip to Atlanta this week.

Let's compare the 2 teams I saw over the last 4 games.

The home team's first baseman is in a free agent year and figures to cash in big time. He's won two Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers. He's in the prime of his career and in the prime of his season, with a 9-for-14 showing and 6 RBI against a division rival.

The visiting team's first baseman is in a free agent year and has been rendered utterly useless. His range is 1 step to the left and 1 step to the right. His bat speed at age 35 and 11 months is about 1/3 of what it was 5 years ago. He'll be lucky to get a minor league contract next year.

The home team's second baseman is what you'd call "pesky." He can hit 2nd or 8th with equal skill. He's lefthanded, yet hits lefties as well as rightys. He's riding a 9-game hitting streak.

The visiting team's second baseman is what you'd call "a cockaroach" and he's an aging, and slow one. His contract figures to be an albatross for the next 3 3/4 years. His approach seems better suited to tennis than baseball since he can only hit a ball about 100 feet.

The home team's shortstop has a slick glove and a smart plate approach. And when he gets hurt, his team has a serviceable replacement lined up and ready.

The visiting team's shortstop used to have a slick glove and a smart plate approach, but he seems to have misplaced both. The next time he walks to start a game will be the 2nd time he's done so all season, a far cry from what he's done previously.

The home team's third baseman is putting together not just an MVP season, but a historic one. Whenever he faces his arch division rival, he rises to the occasion in all aspects of his game.

The visiting team's third baseman is trying far too hard to overcompensate for the lack of success from his teammates. He presses every time he faces his arch division rival. He has 1 hit of significance all season.

The home team's rightfielder, even when he's having a bad game, serves as a major deterrent to the opposition because he excels in one aspect of the game as much as any player in the major leagues. His value in the field makes up for any lack of value that his bat sometimes causes.

The visiting team's rightfielder is the team's best player, except that he's twice concussed (or maybe just once) and seems ready to go postal every time he strikes out.

The home team's centerfielder seems to have a stoned look in every photo I've seen of him, yet he's perfectly respectable. He doesn't do anything great, but he's never going to hurt you with his play.

The visiting team's centerfielder seems to have an emotionless look in every photo I've seen of him. He makes foolish statements in spring training that belie his personality, then fails to back them up.

The home team's leftfielder isn't great, but he's got a backup who seems to be a rookie on the rise.

The visiting team's leftfielder is great, but he plays about 5 games a year. It turns out he's really 63 years old.

The home team's catcher is REALLY good, and has been brought along well. He's become the team's second-most popular player and looks totally locked in at the plate, regardless of who is pitching.

The visiting team's catcher seems to have shown his true offensive ability the last 5 games.

The home team's ace seems to have found his groove, with four wins in his last five starts. He gets the guys on the other team to beat the ball into the ground and lets his defense work its magic.

The visiting team's ace has lost at least 2 miles-per-hour off his fastball in the last year and has not looked like his usual self at any point this season. He gets the guys on the other team to hit the ball in the air, and sometimes that means his defense has no chance to work its magic.

The rest of the home team's rotation is a little old and a little young, but the veterans seem to find a way to win, and their influence has rubbed off on the youngsters, who throw hard and pitch smart.

The rest of the visiting team's rotation is very old, and a little young. The old guys are always injured and the young pitchers are promising, but inconsistent.

The home team's bullpen is trusted by its manager, to the point where he's willing to let guys with very few save chances close games.

The visiting team's bullpen is not trusted by its manager, except for the closer, who has a big mouth and admits to being the most disliked guy on his own team.

The home team's manager is a crusty old man who sticks up for his players and hasn't let age slow him down.

The visiting team's manager is more concerned with how he's being portrayed on TV than how his own actions and words portray him.

The home team's GM was well-taught by his predecessor. He's put together a nice, deep team of home-grown talent despite budget constraints.

The visiting team's GM mismanaged his situation, overrewarding players with padded contracts that take them beyond their best years, and left his manager without a capable backup plan. He would do well to not do anything stupid in June or July if he foolishly believes his team is a contender. He can start over with a different approach next season, given the number of $ that will come off the books.

Guess which one was my preseason pick to go to the World Series? Guess which one I've nicknamed the MOMs ("Most Overpaid...")?

As George Costanza would say: "When you're bleak, you're bleak."

True Metchs know...
Some leftover minutiae

* The "other guy" to whom Royston, Georgia, (home of Ty Cobb) was the home of was former offensive tackle Tony Jones, who started in a pair of Super Bowls for the Denver Broncos.

* Atlanta was home to the first air traffic control tower, which debuted in 1938.

* Bobby Jones, the world's greatest golfer (an Atlanta native), was the 2nd person to get The Freedom of the City and the Royal Burgh of St. Andrews. He got his award in 1958. Ben Franklin was the first recipient, in 1759.


Stormy said…
I'm sorry your trip to Atlanta sucked. :(
Anonymous said…
With two out in the ninth, I blurted, "Oh [your name here]." Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry that this was your vacation.

If it's any consolation, it didn't look like the Mets were enjoying their vacation any more than you could have (except they weren't supposed to be the ones taking a break).

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