Greetings, Pilgrims. Many thanks to all of you who either posted or emailed supportive comments. The good news is that my father is resting comfortably in intensive care. The bad news is that (sparing his privacy as much as possible) there are a number of things wrong and the doctors are still trying to identify them all and get them locked down. As such, I don’t know if it’s accurate to say that he’s out of immediate danger, nor do I have any indication as to when he might be considered stable enough to get out of the ICU, let alone go home. He’s awake and sensible and I and my family are doing our best to cheer and distract him, but I know many of you have been in the same position with a loved one and understand just how difficult that can be with doctors and nurses constantly bustling in and out and making pronouncements alternatively hopeful and dire.
My terrifically wonderful masters at YES have been very kind and told me to take as much time as I need away from my soapbox and my mattresses here, but you and baseball are a terrific distraction at a time like this, to the extent that I can concentrate and figure out what’s going on. I haven’t been bringing my laptop with me to the hospital, preferring to concentrate on my dad, so I’ve been a bit out of touch. As a practical matter, my laptop is also so bulky by today’s standards that it’s more of a desktop you can carry, and I feel like the thing would take up half of my dad’s small room.
Parenthetically, my younger sister has no such problem, as she recently splurged on a Sony VAIO X, which is like a desktop computer packed into a netbook-sized frame. It’s lighter than an Oreo cookie, the keyboard is close to full-sized, the battery lasts for more than half a day, and it runs Windows 7. Sure, you could buy a 50” LCD television for the same price, but ME WANT.
My little sister gets all the cool stuff. Me, I get a laptop that could pass for a manhole cover. Hell, when I make a call on my so-called smart phone, it actually puffs out little smoke signals, and when I send an email it waves flags.
To the extent that I’ve been able to follow the game over the last 48 hours, a few things that have jumped out at me:
• I was very disappointed to see the Orioles’ Felix Pie hit the 60-day disabled list with a severe shoulder injury. Once a top prospect with the Cubs, Pie played good defense but failed to hit. He had his swing rebuilt and had a much-improved second half, hitting .276/.336/.453. With his glove, those rates will play. He started out hot this year, going 8-for-20, but he’s going to be parked there for awhile.
• There’s a great deal about the Edinson Volquez suspension that doesn’t seem to make sense. If he had a legitimate medical usage, why didn’t he seek an exemption? Why didn’t he produce the prescribing doctor?
• Two-thirds of Boston’s outfield is now on the disabled list, and it sounds as if Mike Cameron will be gone for awhile with an abdominal tear. Darnell McDonald made a game-winning hit for them yesterday as a desperation call-up. You will recall that his older brother Donzell, now playing in the Mexican League at 35, was in the Yankees system for about a hundred years. Darnell is 31. Josh Reddick, also up, is the guy who needs to play for the organization’s present and its future. The 23-year-old has real pop and can play center field if he has to. He hasn’t hit much at Triple-A or the majors, but hasn’t played much in either place; last year at Double-A he hit .277/.352/.520 in 63 games. That doesn’t leave room for great optimism, but my instinct is he can do better than that…
• It’s just a fluke of 11 games, but it’s fun to see Ivan Rodriguez play like he did when his was a kid. The Nationals as a whole are fascinating. Their bullpen is not the disaster it was yesterday, but their starting rotation, with the exception of the ephemeral shutout stylings of Livan Hernandez, has completely vanished. Non-Livan starters have an ERA of 9.85.
• Jose Guillen, .377/.406/.738 with six home runs? Trade him now!
As for the Yankees, I keep wondering if Brett Gardner could, hypothetically, go through a whole season and hit something like .300/.400/.300 with 50 steals and still be a productive player. The answer would seem to be yes—I keep thinking back to an old-time Phillies outfielder named Roy Thomas who actually had seasons like that during the Deadball era. What I suspect will actually happen, though, is something better. Right now, Gardner is actually in a slump. He’s beating out infield hits because of his speed, but he’s not hitting too many line drives, which are the keys to building a batting average. If he can hit .300 while beating out 6-3 grounders, THEN get his swing straightened out and actually hit a few balls solidly, he’s actually going to build on what he’s done so far. That possibility is both frightening and exciting.
Back to the hospital… Thanks again for your good wishes. They really do help.