Monday, March 20, 2006
After the Smoke has Cleared
The big Bronson bummer makes the Clemens concept a little less far-fetched. I said a little. Don't go blowing up those "Welcome home Roger" balloons yet; you're wasting your breath. (or all that leftover helium from St. Patty's Day leprechaun skits.) He could still sign with Steinbrenner, you know. This would feel a lot more like a Clemens set-up if Clement had been traded instead.
And perhaps Clement might have been traded instead, were it not for that sparkling performance we saw on Sunday. A performance, by the way, that Bronson credited in his press conference almost entirely to the man behind the plate. Confidence is the key when you wonder which Bronson will show up, and the other day that confidence came from the called pitches of the Captain. Lately it seems like he's been pitching scared; maybe in a smaller market he will find that toughness within that once earned him the nickname "balls of Saturn". I sure hope so, for he deserves the best possible outcome from this mess.
As for our end of the deal, I have a good feeling about Wily Mo. The Tizzle seems pretty happy to have him onboard, and Manny might not mind having him around either. Clearly he needs to learn some plate discipline, but I think Papa Jack might be just the man to teach him. Remember that Manny's freakish natural ability at the plate seems to have affected the patience and confidence of a lot of players coming in, including Big Papi.
A quote from the conversation at RedLegNation:
I have a feeling that Peña will thrive with a regular job in Boston. I expected him to sort of fizzle in Cincinnati, even as an everyday player, but he may really take to playing alongside Manny Ramirez. After all, Wily Mo was made in his image.
At the very least, we now have another player with a very funky name. Last year I was at a game with Jere, WCSG, and Empy when I first noticed the spelling of his name, which ought to be read like "smiley" rather than "silly". This makes Wily sound more like a wascily wabbit than the (apparently) "correct" pronunciation, which if you ask me sounds like a red-neck on crack. Let's hope he lays off the rock and crushes the baseball this year instead.
I've seen this compared to the Nomar trade of 2004 for the emotional impact on red sox nation - I hope Bronson can appreciate the implications of this comparison! Nomar was THE marquee player in Boston for years; to acheive a similar outcry from red sox nation is a tribute to the level at which Arroyo was appreciated in this town. But there is more to the comparison: Wily Mo's production numbers are pathetically similar to the two infielders acquired for Nomar. The Nation looks back at this trade in hopes of the same upside result. We hope Wily Mo starts hitting better and brings a smile to the clubhouse every day, just like the OC did. As this trade plays out, maybe theo will look less like a gorilla and more like boy wonder yet again.
And today our young Wily Mo took a step in the right direction of plate discipline. In his first two plate appearances in a red sox uni, he singled and walked.
More intelligent conversation re: the trade over at "Learn Stern" from yesterday. And if you're wondering why I keep finding out about these after-the-fact, there's something on jere's main page that keeps giving me a run-time error and closing out browser windows like a mad frothing dog. I wish he would fix it because in the meantime I resort to checking the specific posts that show up in my came-from's.
but it is terrible on a personal level, even if we can all see the logic.
meanwhile, the vinatieri thing is just terrible. i'm afraid i'm distracted from baseball atm...