Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday Night Frights

To shine a spotlight on the pathetic nature of my life, I'm going to admit that at 8:30 on a Friday night, I was watching ESPN's Baseball Tonight special Hot Stove Roundtable.  Sadly, I had nothing better to do.  I could say that it was so early, my evening just hadn't begun yet, but that would be pure fiction.  I could claim that I recorded it for later viewing--another falsehood.  I watched it live.  Did I mention it's a Friday night?  Let's move on from this piercing exposé of my lackluster social life.

The panel included a bunch of ESPN baseball big-timers--Buster Olney, Tim Kurkjian, Peter Gammons, Steve Phillips--and was hosted by Carl Ravech.

One part of the discussion was particularly interesting to me.  Youth and talent over experience.  They pointed out the Rays' run from last year, and the trend that teams are getting younger, and prizing draft picks--reluctant to sign type A free agents.   Peter Gammons said that Kansas City has spent more money on the draft in the past year (or it may have been the past two years) than ANY OTHER TEAM in MLB.

Where does that leave the Tigers?  Let's take a quick look-see at the ages of our probable starting lineup (I'm listing the age they'll be on their birthday this year):

Laird - 29
Cabrera - 25
Polanco - 34
Everett - 32
Inge - 32
Guillen - 34
Granderson - 28
Ordóñez - 35
Sheffield - 41

That's a whopping average of 28.7 years.  Not exactly a fountain of youth, with only three of nine in their twenties.  We've certainly got some youngsters on the bench and within the pitching staff, where Nate Robertson and Fernando Rodney are the elders, both turning 32 this year.  Despite the youth of the pitching staff, several within that group are hopeful come-back stories in the making.

We've traded away one promising young talent in Matt Joyce this off-season.  By the way, one of the commentators specifically mentioned that trade as very good for the Rays.  Oh joy, another trade over which we may lament for years to come!

I think I'll leave off that topic now as it's beginning to be a bit nauseating, and youth alone does not a championship win.

One other note from the show, and something that I find to be annoying in no small degree:  the crazed video editing of montages.  A discussion of Manny Ramirez was being introduced, and a dizzying series of images flew past my eyes at a pace that led me to believe I was about to experience a seizure.  The editing was so choppy and the speed of the clips so frenetic, it was impossible to distinguish any one play from another.  Pointless, maddening stuff.  Or wait, maybe the editing was designed to be a commentary on Manny himself???  I fear not--that would be giving far too much credit--and for that reason I rail.

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