Monday Morning Musings
I don’t claim to know much about much, but I can tell you with great certainty that the absolute worst time to go grocery shopping is on a Sunday evening.
I went to my local Giant Eagle last night and was floored to find they were out of bananas (as well as other various forms of fruits and produce). I can only guess that banana shipments arrive on Monday mornings. At first, I thought I was the only one in the store who was blown away by this development, until I passed a guy who was in the store with a friend and heard him say, with a quiver, “No bananas!? No bananas!?” He sounded like he was about to schedule an appointment with his therapist.
(The best times to go grocery shopping, as I’m sure you know, are Fridays around 5 p.m. and Saturdays in the late morning. Yes, the store is most crowded at these times, but the grazing opportunities for free samples are limitless.)
That’s what’s on my mind. Let’s see what’s on yours…
- Jeremy Sowers or Aaron Laffey? Who do you prefer? Sowers got the first call-up, but Laffey gets the start tonight and is now in Westbrook’s rotation spot.
- Is there any realistic scenario in which C.C. repeats as the Cy Young winner, or have those first four starts definitively knocked him out of contention?
- You are Eric Wedge on Sunday morning, and Grady is out of the lineup. Who is your leadoff hitter and why?
- Have you ever successfully purchased a banana on a Sunday night?
“BECAUSE THE MAIL NEVER STOPS!”
No Monday mailbag on the site this week, but let’s take a few bonus questions here. If you have a question for the mailbag (next edition runs May 5), send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. And remember to include your first name, last initial and hometown….
How long before Ryan Garko moves to the three hole in the lineup? Hafner is just killing us with K’s in that spot, and I’m of the mindset that your No. 3 hitter should be your best hitter, pound for pound. Grady is fine where he is at the No. 1 spot. I think dropping Travis down to five or six, depending on a RHP or LHP, would be ideal. What do you think?
— Adam L., Euclid, Ohio
It might be time, Adam. Really, when was the last time Hafner came up to bat in a clutch situation and you just knew, instinctively, that he would rip the ball to the gap or hit one out? Last April, maybe?
I’m not saying Hafner hasn’t come through in the clutch since then. It’s just that you used to get that feeling of limitless possibility with Pronk at the plate, and that feeling has unfortunately dissipated over the past year. Garko doesn’t have Pronk’s power potential, but he’s been a much more consistent offensive presence this year and much of last.
Perhaps you can help me understand something. The Indians brought Sowers up to pitch in Westbrook’s place (at least that’s what I thought). So who is Laffey replacing? I just don’t understand how they lose one pitcher but call two starters up when they only need one to replace him.
— Kevin W., Lexington, Ohio
When Wedge named Sowers the Saturday starter on Wednesday afternoon, the idea was that Sowers would be taking Westbrook’s spot. But that night’s game got rained out, prompting the need for a Monday spot starter (Fausto was bumped to Thursday and is therefore on short rest today). Laffey got that Monday opportunity, and with Sowers optioned back out and therefore unavailable to the big-league club for 10 days, Laffey holds onto that last starting spot.
My question is about vision testing. Are the players responsible, or does the team test every year? Ted Williams always said it’s hand-eye coordination for hitting.
— Jim D., Sarasota, Fla.
An eye test is part of the physical exam every player – including the Minor Leaguers – is subjected to at the outset of Spring Training.
UPDATE: Master of Self Promotion Jason Stein said I am remiss in not mentioning the iTrac vision training system several Indians players use (and Stein runs). It’s a tennis ball machine, and numbers and colors are printed on the balls, which come in at speeds up to 140 mph. It helps train hitters to read the spin on the ball.