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Dave Parker, crushing it.

Dave Parker, crushing it.

A few years ago at a place of business we shall leave nameless, I was feeling less than inspired. It was hard to see what, if any, impact I was really making beyond just getting through another day without throwing an inkjet printer three floors down into the lobby. It’s your run-of-the-mill office restlessness, but it was mine and it came at a point where it all felt like one cumbersome weight.

The saving grace here was that I wasn’t alone. I had three or four co-conspirators who were just as frustrated and annoyed by our rigid 8-to-5 life, and we came up with a series of inside jokes to help pass the time.

One of them featured the gentleman in this card, Dave Parker. By the time I learned about him, he was augmenting the Bash Brothers in Oakland, a still-viable designated hitter in his late 30s who could send 20 or more baseballs out of the park. We discovered some truly amazing pictures of Parker in his earlier days as a veritable baseball hurricane in Pittsburgh, winning MVP awards and sporting some terrifying face gear and occasionally lighting one up in the dugout. We printed up all of these and hung them up around the office.

I also had this card of him as a Milwaukee Brewer and I taped it to the monitor of my computer. When things got tough or our boss gave us yet another meaningless or impossible task, it was, “be strong like Dave Parker,” or “what would Dave Parker do?”

It’s March now. This is the time to start thinking about baseball and bitching about lineups and Spring Training scores, typically. But always, it seems like a good time to chill before crushing whatever problem is staring us in the face into oblivion.

What would Dave Parker do? He’d chill. Then he’d take care of business.

Cobra

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As you may or may not know, I write a weekly column over at SouthCoastToday.com (the Interweb arm of The Standard-Times out of New Bedford, Mass.), and while I don’t typically link to stuff from here to there (it’s only on baseball some of the time), it seemed appropriate in this case.

This week, I waxed poetic a bit on Pedro Martinez’s return to the Red Sox, And since I’ve dedicated so much time to the man and his 98-MPH fastball bursting out of a 5’10” frame, it seemed appropriate to share it here.

Enjoy. Also, subscription may apply, so there’s that.

Pedro Martinez

Alex Gonzalez, in his element.

Alex Gonzalez, in his element.

I’d like to take a moment, if I may, to sing the praises of defense and its superiority over the offensive side of baseball.

The best part of the game is when a favorite team is in the field. The pitcher controls the tempo as much as the opposing batter will allow and, if he puts it in play, it’s in the hands of the fielders. When those hands are as delicate as a field hockey club tied onto some brute first baseman’s forearm, watching the ball be kicked and muffed and dropped can be a frustrating experience. Typically, the guys who play at the major league level are sure-handed enough to have fewer errors than games played, at least.

But when a fielder transcends mere capability and approaches something else, something approaching art, there’s little as exciting in baseball. And reading about the ficticious Aparico Rodriguez and his zen-like student Henry Skrimshander in Chard Harbach’s The Art of Fielding let me with memories of Alex Gonzalez, who enjoyed a remarkable career (and may well again in the future), but truly found a place in my brain when he anchored the Red Sox’ infield in 2006. (more…)

As of this morning, the Orioles are once again in first place with the Yankees, and New York seems to have its hands full with a Boston squad that has, to say the least, not been a threat for most of the year.

So as not to miss the point, the A’s also have a better record than anyone in the East and the Rays are breathing down the Yankees necks, too. But it’s the Orioles that seem to be applying the most direct grief onto New York, and to say that I’m not enjoying that would be the understatement of 2012.

Maybe this season won’t be so bad after all.

Beyond being tall and left-handed, there is little similarity between Andrew Miller and Chris Sale. Obviously. But this was a diagram born out of an inside joke and the frustration of watching a classically ineffective lefty warming up for my favorite team.

As Cee Angi so eloquently explained in The Platoon Advantage yesterday, she sympathized with my plight in having to watch Miller pitch, and countered that she was taking the opposite experience, watching Chris Sale pitch for the Chicago White Sox at whatever they’re calling Comiskey Park these days.

So, of course, that led to this Venn diagram, comparing the two when there is no comparison. But I’d like to explain why, exactly, Miller gets under my skin as much as he does. (more…)

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