I did fill out a thoughtless bracket, but I haven't watched one minute of the action so far. My hometown Bradley Braves made the tournament for the first time since 2006 and they had a strong showing against Michigan St. in the first round. Unfortunately, the Braves game started while I was teaching and finished during the middle of batting practice. The other assistant coach was the listening to the audio feed and reported with updates during BP, but that's as connected to the madness this March as I've been.
It's been a fun couple of weeks for a baseball fan like myself and basketball hasn't been able to captivate my interest. Here's a list of recent baseball happenings and my take:
- Machado and Harper signed . . .
- I'm happy Harper went to a "hitter's park" in Philadelphia. I think MLB needs to market its stars better in an attempt to keep/recruit a youthful fan base. Bat flips, home runs, and flashy play are what attracts attention . . . Harper seems to enjoy the spotlight and I hope MLB and the Phillies take advantage of that.
- I'm even happier that Manny Machado is playing for a small market, west coast team that is largely forgotten by the national media. Good for San Diego for landing the big fish, but personally, I'm not a Machado fan . . . There's a line between hustle and dirty play and another line between showmanship and immaturity . . . and Machado showed on a few occasions last season that he doesn't know where that line is.
- Extensions have been signed by Trout, Goldschmidt, Sale, Bregman, Snell, Eloy Jimenez, Brandon Lowe and Verlander.
- The deals for Bregman, Snell, Jimenez and Lowe seem to make sense for both the young players who desire financial security and the teams who believe in their talent. I suppose the Verlander extension makes sense as well because it's only for two years and the Astros have everyone already locked up for the duration of his contract. They know their short-term budget and know how Verlander fits into the puzzle.
- But, wow, that Trout deal! I get it, Trout is the best ballplayer and should be paid like it, but you'd think the Angels would be somewhat snake bitten after the Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols deals? If Trout wanted to play for a winner, then why handicap the team you're going to be playing with for the next 12 years with such a big contract? I have no experience as a millionaire, but how exactly does the lifestyle and priorities change for someone who makes $430 million versus "only" $200 million?
- Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel still haven't signed. Personally, I feel Kimbrel will go to Milwaukee, but I could see the Braves swooping in. I still don't quite understand the way the baseball markets have played out the last two off seasons and the driving force behind it. The players' union is talking collusion, while the owners are pointing the finger back at the players. Go figure.
- Baseball in Japan!
- Seattle won a couple of games and lots of homers were hit! But the big show centered around Ichiro, and rightfully so. Players of his caliber and character don't come around everyday.
- I also thought it was cool Yusei Kikuchi was able to make a start in front of his countrymen.
- Lastly, did you see who replaced Ichiro in the first game of the season? The VOGELMONSTER! In his only at-bat he was plunked on the elbow and eventually had to be removed from the game. It sounds like Vogelbach will be alright, but I heard the baseball suffered from internal fraying and a lacerated core.
Hey, another low-numbered Vogelmonster arrived in the mail this week.
This one comes the 2018 Panini Chronicles set. I already have the "base" auto of the Select Signatures card and the gold (numbered 09/10) only leaves me chasing the 1-of-1. "Only" two parallels for the base? I can get behind that!
Good luck on your brackets and fantasy baseball drafts!