Much like selection E12 on the vending machine at the office, a lot has changed over the years. One comforting constant (Hawkins Cheezies at B6) is that with the calendar turning over into April, a new MLB season is on the immediate horizon. With the first couple of weeks already in the books, my early musings detail:
- A farewell tour for one of the league’s finest hitters and largest personalities;
- A fresh face off to a torrid pace;
- A flaxen-haired Norse prince inducing swings uglier than those found on a condemned playground.
Papi’s Swan Song – While I will admit a strong bias to my beloved Red Sox, how can you not tip your cap (or in Panda’s case – explode your belt) to the one and only David Ortiz? A 20 year tenure for the 40-year-old Dominican native who in his final season looks like a man not willing to slip quietly into retired days assumingly filled with solving Sudoku’s and afternoon siestas. Papi continues to treat baseballs with the same level of disrespect that my 4 year-old daughter treats my desire for a decent night’s rest. During his final opening day at the Fens, Papi’s daughter surprised him with touching rendition of the national anthem. Either he just finished dicing a Costco-sized bag of vadalia onions or the big man was quite moved by her loving gesture. It’s funny to hear a perennial slugger with ice water in his veins admit that watching his daughter sing to a capacity crowd is the most nervous he has been in his entire life. I have vintage Papi leading the Sox to a World Series title over the Nats…who y’all got?
The Trevor Ending Story – When asked for comment after his first week of play, Story noted ‘I’ve been seeing the ball pretty well...is 7 bombs in your first 5 games any good? I dunno, I’ve never played in this league.’ Not only is it good, it’s hiSTORically good. Not just for a shortstop, but for any player…EVER. I recently tuned into a Rocks game to witness the madness and right on queue, Story parked a 400 footer on an inside fastball that should have sawed him off. 90 percent of the league flares a wounded pidgeon to the shortstop on that same pitch yet he goes Yahtzee. We’re talking about a bonafide talent with power to all fields. While he does strike out a disgusting amount and the pitchers will adjust to him, I’m convinced he’s not just a flash in the pan. Does the team send him down if or when Reyes gets reinstated to play?...No Way Jose. It may be too early to tell, but perhaps we have another name to add to a growing list of impressive young hitters including the likes of Trout, Harper, Arenado, Machado, Betts, Springer, Goldschmidt etc. Color me intrigued.
Sit Down – Apparently Noah Syndergaard of the NY Mets missed the memo about cool spring temperatures being a disadvantage to pitchers. The 6 foot 6 inch fireballer has looked untouchable in his first couple starts of the early season touching 95 mph on his slider...his flippin’ SLIDER! The successive ‘aa’ in his last name is fitting in that he is making major league hitters look like they could use more seasoning down in AA ball. Clearly, his success from last October has carried over into the 2016 season alongside that luscious head of arugula. Noah was issued the nickname Thor by a long tenured Mets fan. Despite the name being a play on Thor’s home planet of Asgard. an argument can be made that it more appropriately accounts for his resemblance to the hammer-wielding god associated with thunder and lightning. Having Thor, Harvey, DeGrom, Matz, and Wheeler as your rotation seems a bit unfair. Good luck with that NL EAST. Ball is back and I couldn’t be any more thrilled.
Yours in Freshness,