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In sickness and in...well, just sickness.

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I've decided I don't like being ill. All it seems like I've done in the past week is work and sleep: I don't really feel too bad, but energy-wise, I just seem to have nothing. I blame the work environment; sharing headsets is undeniably unsanitary, to the point where I now wipe my desk and equipment down with moist towellettes before work. And company policy doesn't help: any sick leave comes off your holiday allocation, so short of actual death, people will crawl in, coughing and wheezing all over the place. Spread the love, well as the bacteria, germs and viruses. I've been iller in three months here, than 18 working for the Great Devil [and I notice that GD's Superbowl advert was amazingly mediocre. Yawn...]

So, Eric Byrnes and the Diamondbacks step back from the brink of...well, bitch-slapping each other over what amounts to pocket change for any sports franchise. Byrnes will get $4.575m from the Diamondbacks for a one-year contract: that leans slightly towards the team's original offer of $4.25m, rather than Eric's request for $5m. but I'd hardly call that the kind of victory that will leave the owners dancing in the streets and singing the Hallelujah Chorus. "It's not a delightful process, but whenever you can settle outside of the hearing room I would call it a success," was our outfielder's take on the matter.

There was apparently vague mention of a longer-term contract, but that seems mostly to have been Eric asking, and Josh politely declining: "I think our outfield numbers and young talent and prospect talent seems to be an area of strength," said JB. Eric countered, "That's their decision. That's nothing that I have control over. As far as I'm concerned, everything that I've ever gotten in my baseball career and essentially in my life is something I had to work for and something I had to earn." Seems somewhat sniffy to me - maybe just the way it's edited. Can't be easy though, knowing your tenure is limited - and the better you play, the more likely you are to be traded. But, say what you like about EB, I doubt such consideration will affect his play, which I'm pretty certain will be at 110% effort all the way.

USA Today published their 100 Names You Need to Know piece. These are the "players coming into the majors who, in our view, could make the biggest impact during the 2007 season." No real surprise that Matsuzaka is the top of the list [though he'd also top my "Player most likely to flop" list], but at times, it seems like half the players listed will be wearing Arizona jerseys:

  • 4. Stephen Drew
  • 5. Chris Young
  • 14. Carlos Quentin
  • 23. Edgar Gonzalez
  • 40. Alberto Callaspo
  • 43. Dana Eveland
  • 51. Miguel Montero
  • 52. Scott Hairston
  • 74. Tony Pena

Surprised to see EdGon rated so highly: I'd probably have put Montero above him. Eveland's high position is also very encouraging, especially given the fact he might not actually see any playing time at all in 2007. Give us a couple of breakout seasons from these guys - and given the sheer number of them, that seems very likely - and who knows where we might end up? BoDog bookmakers only has us as 6/1 to win the NL West, and 50/1 for the World Series. Frankly, I'm inclined to toss a few bucks at the last bet: if the Big Unit bounces back, those are very generous odds.

And what the hell? The Cubs are 8/1? I presume that reflects "reality", less than it does a flood of lemming-like cash from the Windy City. The harshness of life in the AL East bites hard, with both the Orioles and Devil Rays given remote odds of 80/1 to win their division, never mind the World Series. And while I'm fuming, the Giants 3/1 for the NL West? The Dodgers are hot picks at 7/5, with the Padres at 2/1, and the Rockies bringing up the rear at 11/1. Overall, BoDog predict a Subway Series in 2007, with the Mets and Yankees both favored to win their pennants.

Interesting bit of speculation over at Federal Baseball where Basil wonders about getting rid of the outfield fences:

Wouldn't the game be more interesting if there were no outer limit to a ballpark? Wouldn't the players be more interesting? Wouldn't the strategy be more interesting? The outfield fence places a limit on so many things:
  • the need for the batter and baserunners to run as fast as they can in all situations;
  • the ability of fleet outfielders to run absolutely as fast as they can absolutely as far as they can, in all directions, challenging the most potent of sluggers to hustle and not admire; and
  • the ability to position your fielders in a manner that could neutralize the most powerful of hitters.

Anybody else care to come up with changes they'd like to see to the game? Make 'em as radical and brainstormy as you want. I like the idea that a hit batter is out, rather than getting a free pass... Or how about moving the diamond into the middle of the field, and eliminating foul territory? Oh, hang on, that's called "cricket", isn't it. :-)