Friday, March 04, 2005

Play ball

On ESPN right now, the Dodgers are playing the Braves. The organist is playing the "Mexican Hat Dance" on the organ. Yes, it's only a preseason game, but just the sounds of the game mean spring is around the corner and baseball begins again.
You knew, by the calendar, that this would happen, but seeing and hearing it make it real.

To help get you in the mood, the media editor of MaretWatch, Jon Friedman, has done a piece on Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci, whom he praises as the heir to Roger Angell as the country's premiere baseball writer.

This season will NOT be free of trouble and controversy, but we'll get through it. The first big test comes when Barry Bonds passes Babe Ruth for second place on the all-time home run list.

Shaking his head, Verducci quietly told me, "I don't know how I'll feel when he hits No. 715. It's a complex moral question. Will it be celebrated as one of the great moments in baseball history? It's really intriguing because the baseball world is so provincial."

The taint of steroids will hang over Bonds' milestone. Much of the news media will "hold their noses," he said, because of a wide suspicion that "Bonds had an unfair advantage."

Verducci's favorite parks are Camden Yards and Safeco Field. Least favorite: Shea Stadium.

John Smoltz and Greg Maddux rank at the top of his favorite interview subjects.
Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz is Verducci's choice for "most underrated quote" in baseball because "he always has something to say."

Along those lines, Smoltz' former teammate, pitcher Greg Maddux of the Chicago Cubs, is Verducci's man "when I want to learn about baseball. I've learned as much from him as anybody else."

All right now. Look alive. Let's play some ball.

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