Thursday, June 08, 2006

Big Picture Thinking

It was the 'Revenge of Earl Weaver' night for the Red Sox as they combined pitching (Curt Schilling and Papelbon for exercise) and the three-run homer (Dr. Longball courtesy of Jason Varitek) to walkoff with a face saving 'must' win in New York. Jaret Wright had the wrong stuff, and the Captain delivered the Proctorology to seal the win and prevent an early 2 1/2 game deficit.

Meanwhile, on the human growth hormone front, I find it hard to believe that baseball cannot solve a problem simpler than the Riddle of the Sphinx. Rather the Players Union (pardon my snickering) considers blood testing an invasion of privacy. I'm wondering how many of these multimillionaires lack life insurance because they refused HIV blood tests or cholesterol screening?

We can't know who is using and who isn't. Jason Giambi went from the Incredible Hulk to Twiggy, and is back again, the Incredible Bulk. Is he on the needle, or just a finely tuned athlete at the prime of his career?

Nitwit Radio hosts made the argument today that it was somehow more innocent for marginal players to seek performance enhancement than stars. Clinging to the fringe of a dream through chemistry, mediocre players purse a noble dream. However, the Bonds and the Palmeiros of the world intrude on our sensibilities by cheating. Of course, that was Gerry Callahan's argument, undoubtedly fresh from a MENSA meeting.

The Sox continue their newfound consideration of their farm system, venturing into the unknown offering Jon Lester a start on Saturday. We shouldn't overestimate the portfolio of work of any player based on infinitesimal sample size. Let's hope that Lester can show the stuff and command that his resume has promised so far.

What seemed to be a potent rotation in Fort Myers (Schilling, Beckett, Wakefield, Papelbon, and some combination of Clement, Wells, and Arroyo) has morphed into a question mark. The best teams can find fungible pieces to develop a whole greater than the sum of the parts. Over the next few weeks the Sox may have more insight into who they are and what they might become.

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