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Play Ball!

March broke through today, and that can mean only one thing. It's what we've been waiting for all winter long, spending those long nights dreaming about, and eagerly anticipating since the end of last season's delights. Yes, we got our Girl Scout cookies today. Fancy a Thin Mint?

In other news, the Diamondbacks played baseball today. And, as is apparently now an early spring tradition, we started off by kicking White Sox butt, beating them 8-5. Brandon Webb pitched the first two innings, and was supremely untroubled, allowing only one hit: while he gave up a run, it was unearned because Hudson's gaffe on the first batter of 2007 allowed the White Sox leadoff hitter to reach. He then stole second, and came home - inevitably - on two groundouts off Webb. But we'd already put two runs on the board by that stage: leadoff hitter Byrnes (ugh; about the lowest 2006 OBP of any candidate for the role) and #2 Hudson hit back-to-back double. O-Dawg then came home on a single by Jackson.

The score stayed 2-1 to Arizona through the second inning, before the D-backs blew it open with three runs in the third. Drew and Quentin coaxed bases-loaded walks, while Snyder added a sacrifice fly. Quentin smacked the first home-run by Arizona in the fifth to make the score 6-1, and though the White Sox scored twice off both Pena and Slaten in the fifth and sixth to make it a one-run game again, Arizona posted a two-run seventh to provide the final margin. Jackson went 2-for-3, Quentin had two RBI, and we wonder who is this Ojeda guy that replaced Drew at shortstop...

As noted, Webb was fine; certainly, much better than former rotation-mate Vazquez, who was torched for six runs, two walks and five earned runs in 2 1/3 innings for the White Sox. After Webb, MacLane pitched two hitless innings, and Peguero did the same after Peña and Slaten struggled - three K's for Peguero, though he did walk two. Daigle got the save, allowing a hit in his inning of work, in front of a crowd just shy of 3,000 at Tucson Electric Park. Same two teams face off tomorrow, and I'll be in attendance for that one, so stay tuned for a report there late tomorrow...or Saturday. I'm borrowing SnakePit Jr's digital camera, so that may or may not be illustrated, depending on if I can work out how to use it!

The official start of Spring Training also means the official start of AZ SnakePit Fantasy Baseball. As last year, we'll be running a league through Yahoo, to find out who knows what they're talking about, and who doesn't. Last year's winner was...well, let just say it wasn't me. Read into that what you want. :-) The format will be the same as last year, 5x5 Rotisserie scoring, in a weekly head-to-head format, with playoffs over the last month of the regular season to decide the champion. It was a lot of fun last year, so I'm looking forward to it again this season.

Initially, there are fourteen slots, but I can expand it as the need arises, probably to as many as twenty if the need arises. In order to join the league, follow this link or go to the game front page, click the "Sign Up Now" or "Get Another Team" button and follow the links to "Join a Custom League". When prompted, enter the League ID# 143437, and the password "hugemanatee". IMPORTANT Then come back here, and 'claim' your team by announcing its name in the diary: unclaimed teams will be viewed with enormous suspicion and may be deleted. We'll take entries until the draft, which will be a week before Opening Day, and will be an auto-draft, based on entrants' lists.

Randy Johnson had his third bullpen session and pronounced himself satisfied. 55 fastballs this time, and he's now talking about making his first regular-season start, "some time in April. When, I don't know, but I'd like to think I'm taking the appropriate steps. Everything's kind of coming along and I'm seeing progress." According to reports, he's eligible to come off the DL April 11th, but I'm not quite sure how that's calculated, given he could presumably have been put on the DL at any time since his last outing on September 23rd.

And here's a really disturbing piece of news. Guess who pitched three perfect innings today? The Huge Manatee himself, though apparently he appears to have been watching Anna Nicole Smith infomercials, and is now the not-so-Huge Manatee. The TrimSpa Manatee, perhaps? Oh, and he also drove in three runs. However, before we find a cliff to fling ourselves off, it is probably worth mentioning that he did pitch over the winter, in Puerto Rico, so is likely going to be significantly ahead of the hitters at this point. But if he is anything other than the God-Emperor of Suck we saw here over the past two seasons, it'll be all the more reason to hate him.

Which brings me to another topic. Was listening to 620 KTAR on the way home, and the host was saying someone asked his son which D-back was his favorite? His son said he liked all of them, and it was the host's opinion that was probably because he couldn't name any of the current team. But then Mrs. SnakePit asked me who my favorite was, and it was, in all honesty, the same. I like every one of them. It's quite a change from last year, where there were several people on the roster, at various times, whom I felt were an utter waste of space. Now, who have we got? Tony Clark? Eric Byrnes? Those are probably the two I feel least enthusiastic about, but I still like them. Certainly, nothing to compare with the disdain I felt for Damion Easley, Shawn Green, increasingly towards Gonzo, or permanently for his Royal Highness, the Prince of Poor Pitching. So who on the 2007 roster do you not care for?