Sunday, March 1, 2009

Home on the Camelback Ranch: Sox - Dogers Spring Training Game

I’ve been holding off writing anything about spring training games. Unless you’re there, you’re looking at a box score. It’s not just hits and pitching, you have to check out what’s happening on the field, who’s playing defense, how the ball’s being thrown… there’s always a story. The only thing I could take as fact was that the P.R. people working for the Sox don’t mind embarrassing pictures and using them to embarrass the organization’s players. What I have seen is that Chris Getz isn’t making much noise. And, from what I read before watching the game today, I was disappointed to find out that Viciedo hasn’t shown to be much of a third baseman. Let the cringe-worthy era (or ERA) of Josh Fields begin, I suppose. But, if you want to be impressed, look at Jayson Nix or Paul Konerko’s numbers so far. Pierzynski and Thome have also been doing quite well. What I was looking forward to seeing was, of course Viciedo and Fields battling it out. Perhaps Nix and Getz, Owens and Anderson. The game finally started and I felt strange watching baseball again. Sure, the game seems to have a different pace than a real game, but it is nevertheless exciting. Even the new promo campaign is exciting. I wish they included some players, but they were certainly fun.

Right away, I realized Viciedo is really something to watch on the field. The pictures don’t do him justice. He is what the tall, large-rear-wielding son of Dotel and Thornton would be. But Cuban. He hasn’t made much of a splash offensively, and either has Getz (Whose mannerisms are so close to Crede’s at times, that it almost puts me at ease), which leads me to believe they may not get starting roles. Unless Viciedo really performs, Josh Fields is guaranteed the job. As for Getz, he seems to be the favorite, but hasn’t made much of a splash yet. Then, there was the big name being thrown around as THE future of baseball: Gordon Beckham. He hit a home run in his only at-bat today and has been showing that he was worth his signing bonus. As for the unknowns that I am finally getting a chance to put a face to, the first one I noticed today was Nix. He looks good out there. Not bad on the field, and swinging a hot bat early on. Betemit on the other hand failed to impress. If the rest of spring training goes off the way today went, he will certainly be out of the running at second base. There’s also Corky Miller, who seems to be an improvement over Toby Hall. In many ways, they’re the same (including their number), but Corky impressed me by throwing out a runner.

Moving on to the outfield, there were Jerry Owens and BA. BA didn’t manage to get on base, and his approach fluctuated in what I can only describe as a Swisher-like manner. First, he took every first pitch. Usually a strike. He missed every curveball. Then swung at everything in his last at-bat. Jerry Owens walked twice, but failed to put the bat on the ball. Or steal a base. He was caught stealing in his only attempt.

More important was the pitching. Buehrle was, of course, fine. But there was Jack Egbert. “Who’s this guy?” I asked myself. His name hasn’t crossed paths with mine, but he seems like a calmer Clayton Richard. There was DJ Carrasco, who is still alive and kicking. Lance Broadway only pitched one inning, but it was scoreless and he seemed to fit right in with the Buerhle-Danks crowd. Finally, there was Harrell, who is only in AA, but who seemed to pitch very well.

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