I spent some of today watching the MLB Network and marveling at Roy Hobbs' performance in the Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium last year. (I miss Hobbs, but I'd rather have Voltron on the mound since decent pitching is tough to come by.) I thought Chris Berman was a little annoying, but he wasn't Tim McCarver, so there's that. I didn't watch the Derby when it actually happened - these types of capitalist exhibitions can sometimes be nauseating - but because Hobbs, er, I mean Hamilton, was exceptional, I allowed myself to turn some attention towards the show.
I am somewhat disappointed that the MLB Network has had limited programming in its first couple of weeks - one would think that in the 140 years since the Cincinnati Red Stockings became the first professional baseball club, the network could show some old games and not have to repeat airings of the 2008 Home Run Derby. I'd love to watch some random game in which Willie Mays played, being not born when he played and all, or maybe Mantle or Snyder or Bench, Morgan, Perez, and Pete. I don't want to watch the 2008 World Series or the 1996 World Series or anything recent, because I've seen those. I want the old stuff, the legendary stuff, the stuff we've come to glorify and forget that the game "back then" wasn't perfect. To us right now in 2009, the likes of Willie, Mick, and the Duke are gods. I want to see the gods come to life.
But I'm not complaining. I'm not a television watcher, yet I've managed to watch about 16 hours of MLB Network since its birth so far - maybe more, maybe less, I'm not really counting.
So, John Smoltz in a non-Braves uniform and Trevor Hoffman in a non-Padres uniform? Tragic. Makes me respect Barry Larkin's retirement even more. Though we tend to forget that guys like Mays and Ruth ended their careers with other teams, it's still tough to see the few guys who've managed to stick around for 15 or 20 years wear another uniform. It's part of the game, I know. But why does it have to be?
In three hours I turn 32, Tom Browning's number. I think that means a Reds pitcher is going to throw a no hitter this year. Cueto's my bet. He took a few no-nos into the second half of games last year, but nothing was as spectacular as his MLB debut. I don't think I'd ever in person seen a game as well-pitched as that one. We were at that point when our eyes kept stealing glances at the zeroes on the scoreboard, and though we never mentioned it, we all acknowledged that the possibility was in the air with a nod or a smile. All 12K or so of us who were there, that is.
Anyway, some random thoughts for a rather mundane week on the hot stove.