Well, I'm back. And I've decided not to explain my absence at all, in a blatant and no doubt futile attempt to seem mysterious. Though I will just say that the persistent rumors of my role in the Johan Santana negotiations, while flattering, are completely unfounded... really, how on earth do these things get started?
Anyway, many things have happened in the last few weeks, and while all of this news is now not only old but in fact decrepit and being gnawed on by its own cats, I thought I'd do a very, very quick rundown of recent (ahem!) events, just to catch up.
Torre to the Dodgers: When the season ended, I felt a major pang over losing Joe Torre -- genuine pathos. I'd watched him grimace at middle relievers for 12 years, and I assumed that no matter how the Yankees fared without him, I'd miss him for seasons to come.
But you know what? I'm pretty much over it already. Go figure.
Slightly off-topic: I can't believe they voted Walter O'Malley into the Hall of Fame without a fight. That man is the embodiment of valuing greed and business and calculation over loyalty and individuality and emotion -- which I realize is a major part of any corporate entity, certainly including baseball, and I've generally made my peace with that, but do we really have to go and honor it?
Rivera, Posada, and Pettitte re-up: I like this now, but I know I won't like it in three years, and yet I am apparently unable to truly think that far ahead, so: yay!
A-Rod: Totally torn between feeling privileged that I'll get to watch Rodriguez make history firsthand, and being so fucking tired of talking about this guy already.
Johan Santana: Man, I was so psyched about the idea of Santana in New York -- I don't care which team, I've always said, as long as I can watch the man pitch every fifth day -- but then it was all talk, talk, talk, and no action, and unfulfilled excitement, like the Winter Meetings had been replaced by a 1960s Antonioni movie. I freely admit that I'm not really rational about Santana; if I were a man, you'd call it a man-crush, a blind, fierce, platonic devotion. I can see that trading Jose Reyes or Phil Hughes as part of a package for Santana is maybe not a rational move, and in fact I love both those players, but I just don't care -- my god, that changeup...
Snapping out of it and moving on, some highlights from the last few weeks:
Best Name Picked Up In The Rule V Draft: Callix S. Crabbe, 2B, and it wasn't close. Congratulations to the San Diego Padres.
Healthiest Way to Look at the Mets Offseason: While most of the Amazins fans I’ve talked to are disappointed with the Mets’ tepid moves so far, it’s become clear that it all feels much better if you just apply the Guillermo Mota Standard (GMS) to all incoming players. This began, of course, with Johnny Estrada, a mediocre catcher who nevertheless has the clear and much-lauded advantage of not being Guillermo Mota, for whom he was traded. But it works with other players, too. Lastings Milledge for Ryan Church and Brian Schneider!?!? Well, think of it this way: neither of those guys is Guillermo Mota, am I right? Doesn’t seem like such a bad trade now, does it?
Most Depressing Management Quote of the Fall: From the Orioles, of course. Just beating out Hammerin' Hank Steinbrenner's declaration that Jennifer Love Hewitt is his favorite actress, it's Baltimore President Andy MacPhail, as quoted in the Boston Globe (via Baseball Prospectus): "When the Egyptians were building the pyramids, they didn't think about what they had to build, they just carried the rocks up. I think that's what we have to do."
This explains so much. Never mind that I'm pretty sure the ancient Egyptians actually did put a fair amount of thought into creating structures that constitute, in context, some of the greatest engineering feats of all time; more to the point, I believe the Baltimore fans of my acquaintance -- those who are not yet institutionalized and heavily medicated -- would be very intrigued by Mr. MacPhail's view that the problem with Orioles management is that they've been thinking too much. Turns out we've been looking at this thing backwards all along!
Sorry, Balmer. At least The Wire will be back soon.