In 1881 the future National League wanted to upgrade its image and target a more upscale fan base by doubling ticket prices, banning gambling, and outlawing alcohol sales. Several team owners who happened to be brewers refused to accept the new rules and banded together to form what would eventually become the American League. The National League attempted to discredit the new league by dubbing it the Beer and Whiskey League. This, of course only made the new league more popular. Duh!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Around the Horn (Pt1: AL West)

In our attempt to be less curmudgeonly (is that a word?), I wanted to do a quick go-round to see what's happening in the world of baseball during this oh-so wonderful time when hope springs eternal.

First off, here's a nice little tidbit from Aaron Gleeman which I think very neatly highlights a very small detail that also sums up what is so wonderful about baseball:

When a batter smacks a ball into right field against the Mariners and it appears as though they are going to try to stretch the hit into a double, the crowd at Safeco Field starts buzzing in preparation for Ichiro! throwing a laser into second base. Jacque Jones hustled a double out of a hit to right in the top of the sixth inning yesterday, and while Ichiro! had no shot at throwing him out, the Seattle crowd started getting audibly excited as soon as they saw Jones round first. Little stuff like that is why I miss baseball so much during the offseason.

Granted, my own bias as a Mariners fan makes this especially meaningful to me but I think almost any baseball fan can appreciate this kind of collective thrill (except, of course, if you're a Mets fan ... then I guess it's about a collective groan)

In the world of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (and that will be the only and last time you ever hear me refer to the Angels by that stupid monker), the folks at Purgatory Online have a funny observation I thought was worth sharing:

Today's Angels-Rangers preview at describes Bartolo Colon as a "burly righthander," "burly" being the selfsame epithet used to describe Kelvim Escobar a few days back by the Register. Time to start a burlywatch! Or maybe change the name: The Los Angeles Burlies of Anaheim.

And speaking of funny ... apparently some Oakland A's fans have a serious case of low self-esteem problems. The The Elepheants in Oakland for some reason feel their team is greatly underappreciated:

The A's are picked to finish dead last in the AL West by just about everybody but A's fans, Rob Neyer and Baseball Prospectus...The Yankees are the favored team by most 'experts'...In case you have missed the last century of baseball, apparently not a lot has changed.

I don't know what those elephants have been smoking but the A's had been favored to win the AL West several years in a row and even with their rebuilding project are still considered to be in the running.

And while we're on the topic of people who smoked a little too much crack ... Hank Blalock is apparently bullish on the Ranger's pitching:

"I think our starting pitching has been one of the best things about spring training," third baseman Hank Blalock said. "Everybody kept saying we needed to sign starting pitching in the off-season, but these guys have shown they can do the job."

Sure, the Rangers pitching has improved steadily but that's a lot like comparing two pieces of dog crap and saying one smells better than the other. Sure, that may be true but you're still sniffing two pieces of crap. Ah, yes, everyone's a contender in the Spring.