I am of the belief that we like to root. Whether it's the guy to get the girl, the mom to win the dishwasher or State to take care of those bastards over at Tech, we like, we need, we must root.
So it was a frustrating NCAA title game for me because frankly, I had no one to root for. No interest in putting money on the game. I actually do not bet on sports. So I have to root purely on who I want to see win. And there's the rub, you see. Who wants to see Florida win it again? After getting the NCAA football title? Which they didn't deserve. (Don't get me started on college football.)
What fun is that? So you root for Ohio State, right? Oh, sorry. THE Ohio State University. Have you ever met someone from OSU? I'm sorry. I'm all for school pride. And no doubt, they have a terrific sports program. But it's not the best sports program.
Take it from an egomaniac. You also need a little humility. Like, I'm losing my hair. Not that you could tell from my cheesy picture. See? Take a shot or two at yourself. Buys you a little goodwill. Anyways, maybe one day I will meet an Ohio State grad that is not 100 percent full of himself, but so far, it has not happened.
Save the hate mail, OK, I'm generalizing and stereotyping. Besides, I know you guys can't read. (I went to Syracuse, so, you know, I'm very jealous of actual sports success these days. Sigh.)
The NCAA aside, Opening Day is in the books, and what I normally do in the TRUM (Thoughts, Ramblings, Useless information and Musings) when there are box scores is scroll through them. What I noticed, what stood out, it's nothing scientific, but I've been doing it for years now and folks seem to not hate it (save for a nation full of Buckeyes, no doubt). So here we go:
First, I'll just say this if your stud starting pitcher got shelled today: It's cold. It's one start. How soon is too soon to roll out the "Don't panic" speech? If anyone in your league is dumb enough to panic over Brandon Webb, Erik Bedard, John Patterson, Chris Carpenter, Curt Schilling, Carlos Zambrano or Scott Kazmir, you have the green light to rip them off.
I've never liked Jose Contreras or Carl Pavano, so that serves you right. In fact, how angry are the Yankees right now about him? I not only want the money back, but he needs to return all the dates with Alyssa Milano.
Stolen bases for Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli and B.J. Upton. Those worried about a manager change in Tampa Bay leading to less steals can rest easy. Meanwhile, Elijah Dukes -- no relation to Mortimer or Randolph -- hits a homer and plays center field. This is important for a ton of reasons, the least of which is, if the Rays want to trade Rocco, they can do so with confidence. Dukes is what we in the industry call "good."
Reed Johnson stole a base last night for the Blue Jays, but before you get all excited, note that he only stole all of eight last year. More a fluke than anything.
Like you, I have no idea why Ben Zobrist is batting second. Other interesting batting order notes from last night? Jose Vidro, second base eligible but playing DH, hitting third for Seattle. Behind Ichiro and Beltre, in front of Ibanez and Sexson. That's a good spot, kids. Sammy Sosa gets the start and is batting fifth. Does nothing with it, but still. Good sign. Nick Punto, he of the shortstop and third base eligibility with 17 stolen bases last season, batting in the No. 2 hole for the Twins. More steals and runs scored coming for Nick, who I continue to like. Chase Utley is batting fourth, backing up Ryan Howard. Expect an increase in power and RBIs, but a solid drop in stolen bases if this keeps up. Matt Murton batting second for the Cubs. Always liked Murton, and now he's got a full-time gig and protection in the lineup. Nice year on the way from the power hitter.
Some stolen bases last night that bear noting, including Kenny "I've still got wheels" Lofton snagging two against Mike Napoli and the Angels. Of course, Napoli stole a base himself. That's right. Scioscia sent the catcher. Love my Halos.
Yes, Gil Meche; 7 1/3 innings, six hits, one walk, six strikeouts with a very efficient 103 pitches against a good Red Sox team. You have to be impressed. Unless you're a Red Sox fan, at which point, well, this was a very-bad-not-good-terrible day for you.
Bobby Abreu, who I love this year, has a big day with 2-for-5, two runs, one RBI and a steal. He also left six men on base. That's one thing I always like to look at: men left on base.
Those who ever read my basketball column know I always liked to do a little "Iron Unkind" on behalf of "NBA 2Night," late of the Deuce. So congrats to Garrett Atkins and his owners, proud tie winners for the night with six men left on base. That's a lot of RBIs to leave out there, eh kids?
Good pitching that made me a bit nervous? C.C. Sabathia gave up a few too many hits for my taste. John Lackey needing 96 pitches to get through five innings and only having a 5/4 K/BB rate. Zach Duke going seven shutout innings and striking out no one. As in: No. One.
Eight innings, 12 strikeouts, only three hits and no earned runs? Seriously? Mmmm, King Felix.
J.J. Putz works a scoreless ninth. Looks healthy to me.
Never Pay For Saves! Never!
Jose Valverde and Salomon Torres get saves. Brad Lidge does not. Lidge is done. For those wondering now that Julio is gone to Florida, former closer Brandon Lyon pitched the eighth, and you have to assume he's the next guy in line should something happen to Valverde.
Kevin Millar and Jeff Cirillo, two guys I did not see drafted very much this year at all, even in AL-only leagues, both get starts at DH. Josh Phelps gets the start for the Yankees and is worth a look in deep AL-only leagues. First, his basic competition is ol' Doug Mientkiewicz. Second, over the last three years, he's gotten 529 ABs, or basically a full season. In that time, he's hit 22 homers and has 87 RBIs. Respectable numbers. A career .268 hitter, he walked twice last night, always a good sign. Take a flyer on him.
Nook, Church and Snelling. Meet YOUR Washington Nationals outfield, baby! Here's the scary part; I actually kind of like all three in a deep NL-only this year and Dmitri Young goes 2-for-4 with a ribbie.
Finally, from the useless eligibility file, Carlos Guillen makes an appearance at first base for those of you in one-game eligibility leagues.
Cyberstalk the TMR; TalentedMrRoto@aol.com