Friday, January 29, 2010

TBB Spring Training

Last week’s blog was admittedly a ridiculous fake letter to Daniel Murphy. In spirit of this ridiculousness, we asked you if thought it would be an awesome idea if Murphy sent us a friend request on Facebook. For some reason, only 4 of you chose to provide input. Are you saying that this poll was not worth voting on? We find that a little insulting, but we did give you an extremely stupid blog last week, so maybe we deserved that. The good news is that all 4 voters felt that he should totally friend request us! We seem pretty harmless and after all and our BFFer is that guy from Oakland, so clearly we’re trust worthy baseball player friends. You hear that, Murphy? We’re totally trust worthy! We’ll be expecting your friend request in our inbox by tomorrow morning. Thanks.

At blogging time, Spring Training is only 25 short days away and MLB Opening Day is exactly 65 days from now! We’re so excited that we can practically taste those grilled hot dogs and Premio sausage sandwiches already! Since our whole purpose for this blog depends heavily on the season starting, we figured you might be wondering how the TBB prepare for the regular season every year. Well, we’ve laid out our training regime in all its glory for you. Without further delay, we present to you “TBB Spring Training:”
It goes without saying that we plan as much of our stadium touring vacations as we possibly can without actually being able to book anything until regular season tickets go on sale. We routinely check airfares, hotel availability, and team schedules (including their promotional schedule). We also sign up for the teams’ mailing list that we plan on traveling to (in this season’s case, Angels, Dodgers, and Padres) just so that we’re on the up and up as to when tickets go on sale. Of course, we also monitor ticket sales for the Mets and Yankees as they are our teams of choice. In the meantime, we wait patiently and gaze longingly at our suitcases…
Touring stadiums is hard work. There’s a lot of walking involved, carrying suitcases up flights of stairs when your hotels don’t have elevators, etc. There’s also a lot of picturing taking involved. Not just for the memories, but we write this blog with the purpose of sharing these stadiums with you…our 2 readers. Therefore, it’s imperative that we put the best foot forward, make a good impression, blah blah blah. What does this mean? We have to hit the gym in order to be in peak stadium touring form. Do you have any idea how much food and beer we intake over the course of a baseball season? Enough to warrant a gym membership trust us. Besides, if we didn’t hit the weights, there’s no way we would’ve been able to lug our overweight suitcases up three flights of stairs at the Inn at Queen Anne in Seattle.
As we’ve mentioned in previous blogs, we collect spare change to put toward our stadium trips. This year, we’ve added depositing recyclables to our penny pinching ways. This means stealing empty bottles from the office’s lunch meetings, saving our used water bottles, collecting Brother’s beer bottles and cans, and lugging plastic bags filled with this recyclable garbage to Stop n Shop’s deposit center on our lunch breaks.
Fred K’s Cancer is also a new addition to this off season. In order to raise money, we’ve decided to make cancer ribbons, bracelets, chocolate pops, and cookies to sell. All of this craftiness requires supplies, which in turn leads to countless trips to the various AC Moore and Michael’s locations around Long Island.
On an additional Fred K’s Cancer fundraising related note, after purchasing the aforementioned craft supplies, we’ve been put them to good use and have started selling these items! We’ve been quite successful with this aspect of the campaign so far, though we do admit that straight donations have been scarce. Hopefully, this will pick up as we get closer to the baseball season and have more opportunities to advertise the event.
The past few months have also been dedicated toward gearing up for the Ab Crunch Challenge to support St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. You may recall that last year, Serena completed over 5,000 crunches in one hour and raised over $500 for the cause. 5,000 crunches meant that Lisa had to click the unyielding button on the counter over 5,000 times. That is some serious thumb endurance if you ask us! Again, stamina such as this takes time and effort to build. Serena has spent many nights crunching her abs away while watching Secret Diary of a Call Girl and Supernatural, while Lisa has been building thumb strength by playing countless hours of Mortal Kombat on her old Sega Genesis. It’s been grueling, but we’re professionals so we can handle this kind of physical stress. Please, for your safety, amateurs should not attempt this.
In a less serious form of off season training, you may have noticed that the TBB have become avid letter writers. The weird thing is that we never actual send these letters to the individuals, but once in awhile we do post the extra special ones here...much to your joy, we’re sure. In addition to the David Wright letters and last week’s Murphy letter, we’ve written letters to Barry Zito, Mr. Met, Jose Reyes, the mayor of DC, and bad luck Laurie for wearing white pants after Labor Day. We find that letter writing, especially when directed toward players, keeps us in touch with our thoughts and feelings on the sport. Even our letter to DC’s mayor was related to baseball in that we wrote it with the purpose of discussing our road trip to RFK Stadium. And while white pants after Labor Day doesn’t have a whole lot to do with baseball, Laurie is a Mets fan and that should count for something. We are currently planning to write a letter to the Mets organization demanding the reinstatement of the original home run apple. Just so you’re aware. Keep your eyes peeled.
To pass the endless, empty time without baseball, we turn to football. In this area, our New York Giants failed to appease the hunger for quality competitive sports, but thankfully, Mark Sanchez and the Jets stepped up to the plate, if only for two rounds of post season action. That’s nothing to be ashamed about, Mark! You did a fine job, especially considering no one expected you to make it as far as you did. Sadly, the February 7th Super Bowl will signal an end to this favorite activity of ours. We’ll have to find something else to fill the time with…like eating.
In addition to fundraising, prepping mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually for the upcoming baseball season, and getting our finances in order to pay for the upcoming baseball season, we’re also excellent party planners. It’s true. Derek Jeter has even gone so far as to hire us as his wedding coordinators. We’re aware that there are numerous rumors circling about how the wedding is a hoax, but we assure you that on November 5, 2010, Derek (we’re on a first name basis with him now) will be marrying Minka Kelly at Oheka Castle on Long Island. Trust us. We would never lie to you. As those of you who’ve been involved with weddings before know, planning a wedding is never an easy ordeal. It’s even more difficult when dealing with a wedding of this magnitude and celebrity status! The guest list and the invites alone have been time consuming, what with some of the premier names being Jay-Z, Sarah Jessica Parker, CC Sabathia, Don Mattingly, Kate Beckinsale, President Obama and Michelle, Spiderman, the Traveling Baseball Babes, Erin and Matt…It’s just exhausting! Plus the flowers, decorations, Minka’s dress, party favors, assorted pastries, and the shipment of snow white doves all of the way from England! Needless to say, we’ve had our hands full with this one.
Finally, the moment you real sports fans have been waiting for! Actual baseball related news! This week’s baseball notes: It appears that Baltimore and Miguel Tejada will be reuniting! On Monday, announced that Tejada has agreed to a 1 year/$6 million deal with the Orioles. With Melvin Mora’s release and the expectation that Cesar Izturis will remain at short stop, Tejada is joining the team in a new role: third baseman. According to Tejada, he’s been “mentally and physically…getting ready to play third base since the season ended last year.” Well…the good news is that he’s prepared.

In somewhat perplexing news, Ozzie Guillen informed Jim Thome that the White Sox wouldn’t be offering him a chance to be included among the team’s cast of designated hitters. Guillen didn’t think that he could guarantee Thome enough at bats to warrant bringing him back. In place of Thome (a Chicago fan favorite, mind you and let’s be serious. Who can blame them?), Guillen plans on rotating Paul Konerko, Andruw Jones, Mark Kotsay, and Omar Vizquel in the DH spot. So…you’d rather have a “douche nozzle” (to quote Matt) like Jones in the lineup over Thome. We’re thinking the White Sox will probably be kicking themselves by the end of the season thanks to this one. Especially since Thome remained unemployed for a mere evening as the White Sox’s arch division nemesis, the Twins, snapped him up the following day. The Twins and Thome have agreed to a 1 year/$1.5 million contract. Of his 564 career home runs, Thome has hit 57 of them with the White Sox against the Twins. Wonder how the White Sox pitching will fare when facing their former teammate? Hmmmm…makes us contemplate wanting to return to US Cellular just to witness that comeback.

In former Mets and Yankees news, Xavier Nady has agreed to a 1 year/$3.3 million contract with the Cubs that include performance bonuses that could potentially bring his earnings to $5.35 million. Last season, Nady had a second round of Tommy John surgery on his right arm and is reportedly doing well in rehab. He will be missed. Hopefully, he’ll never pull a Milton Bradley and throw a live ball into the stands, allowing runners to advance. We’re not sure Cubs fans will be able to deal with another scenario like that.

On Tuesday at the Mets’ voluntary mini camp, Johan Santana threw off the mound for the first time since his surgery and said that he “felt good.” He threw about 25 pitches over the course of 6 minutes. Granted, neither of us are professional athletes, much less professional pitchers. In fact, the closest either of us has come to pitching was Serena standing on a softball mound during an “infield conference” prior to a game starting. Neither of us have ever had surgery on our arms either, so we’re not really sure how to judge a 6 minute throwing session that consisted of 25 pitches, but we’re thinking that if he didn’t feel good afterwards, it would probably be considered a serious problem. The Mets announced on Wednesday that (for now) Daniel Murphy is their first option for first base as Carlos Delgado and Fernando Tatis are both free agents. Murphy was the only position player to attend mini camp this week, which is a bit disgusting if you ask us. Don’t you people want to prepare for the upcoming season?! You’re paid an awful lot of money not to show up to mini camp. Good job, Murphy! We commend you for your dedication.

At long last, Serena’s dream appears to be coming true. The Yankees have agreed to terms with outfielder Randy Winn that is, of course, pending a physical, filling the empty gap in left field. The deal is $2 million for 1 year. What does this mean? It means that Johnny Damon is left in the cold. Last reports indicated that negotiations between the Yankees and Damon’s camp fizzled in December when Damon’s agent, Scott “Satan’s Minion” Boras, requested a $2 year/$20 million contract. Are you insane? $20 million for a man who can’t throw to the infield and will be 38 when his 2 year contract ends? Boras, have you learned nothing from that AROD free agency fiasco? You’re a true NTAC. Put the crack pipe down. Just put it down.

Let’s play the numbers game in order to hypothesize how the Yankees’ business decision played out. Let’s talk money first. Winn will get $2 million for 1 year. Damon asked for $20 million for 2 years. If we give Winn the second year and double his earnings, that puts him at $4 million. Clearly Damon’s asking fee could potentially send most budgets out of whack. Plus, taking a chance on an older outfield for 1 season isn’t nearly as risky as taking the chance for 2 seasons. Now for the offensive numbers. There is no doubt that the Yankees will miss Damon’s bat at the top of the lineup. In the 2009 regular season, the left handed hitter had 550 at bats in 143 games with a .282 average. He collected 155 hits, 24 home runs, 11 doubles, 5 triples, 71 walks, 98 strike outs, and 82 RBI’s. Winn is more of a “bottom of the lineup” kind of guy. In 2009, Winn had 538 at bats in 149 games (similar to Damon, which makes these stats pretty comparable) with a .262 average. He amassed 151 hits, 2 home runs (Yikes! A vast difference from Damon’s 24), 33 doubles (more than double Damon’s total, we’d like to point out), 5 triples, 47 walks, 93 strikeouts, and 51 RBI’s. Again, there is a huge gap between Damon’s 82 RBI total and Winn’s 51. However, if you think about the Giants offensive power and compare it to that of the Yankees’, it’s not really a fair comparison. The Yankees more than likely gave Damon more RBI opportunities than the Giants gave Winn. That being said, the Yankees are still losing a bat that launched 24 balls out of the park. One good thing that Winn brings to the plate is his ability to hit from both sides, whereas Damon only batted from the left. With the loss of Melky Cabrera, Winn’s flexibility at the plate provides Girardi more options. Lastly, defensive numbers. We’re aware that the glitz and glamour of the game comes from a heavy bat, but we feel (Serena in particular) that defense is just as important as offense. If your defense allows more runs than you can score, what good is it? Granted, we’re not looking for the King of Defense in the left field position, but we are asking that you play your position competently and by competent we mean not allowing runners to advance to an extra base because your throwing arm is worth crap. In 132 games in 2009, Damon had 231 “total chances (TC)” over the course of 1,117.2 innings. In that time, he committed 220 “put outs (PO),” 6 assists, and 5 errors. His “range factor (RF)” has been rated as 1.82 and his fielding percentage comes to .978 on the season. In 146 games and 1,191 innings, Winn had 287 TC. In that time, he committed 282 PO, 5 assists, and 0 errors (note: in more opportunities, Winn committed zero errors compared to Damon’s 5)! His RF is also rated higher than Damon’s at 2.17 and his fielding percentage was a perfect 1.000 on the season. Obviously, most people are going to lament the loss of Damon’s offensive capabilities, but Serena couldn’t be more pleased about the defensive situation. It is quite feasible that Winn’s fielding abilities may prevent more runs from being scored off of Yankees’ pitching, which Damon may have allowed. Just saying.

BallHype: hype it up!


  1. Ugh... Rumor has it Damon is headed out here to the West Coast. Not good.

    Can I expect some Winter Olympics coverage from the TBB? I think you'd have some great commentary! -CM

  2. We hadn't been planning on covering the Winter Olympics as it doesn't have anything to do with baseball, but we DID burden your eyes with an entire blog dedicated to men's facial hair, so we suppose that anything is possible : )

  3. where is tech support on the blog?

  4. Tech Support Sean never really liked his picture out there on the blog, so shortly after Christmas, we felt a little guilty about torturing him, so we removed his photo, which is not to say that he's lost his position as Tech Support (you may note that he is still in our glossary) or Employee of the Month...

    Plus, we could find any good "New Year's" Clip Art to add to his picture, so we finally had to just let that running joke go. :)

  5. Ah! Typo! We wrote "could find" and it should read "could'nt find." Ooops!

  6. Are you guys going to spring training? It would be fun to see you in Tampa in March. Steinbrenner Field is very fan friendly!

  7. We're not going to Spring Training this year unfortunately. We've been meaning to go, but with spending most of our time focusing on other people's stadiums, the opportunity to go has not presented itself yet. Soon, we hope. Soon : )