The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Friday, May 28, 2004


Welcome to the latest edition of the mailbag, our not-quite-frequent-enough public response to your emails. Unless you tell me it’s ok when you send me your note, I will leave your name and hometown off of your question in order to protect the innocent. Also, please note, some of the “mail” below wasn’t exactly sent to me, but I took a question or two that was posed to another writer elsewhere and claimed it for my own. You can see what the original author responded with by following the associated link.

So Mike, when are you going to do an update on funny searches that you see finding your way to your site? That “Find it for me Mr. Google” hit you talked about awhile back made me laugh so hard that the coffee I was drinking came out of my nose and onto my keyboard.

Great question! I’ve been wanting to do another post like that one for awhile now. Frankly though, I don’t think that anything will ever live up to the Mr. Google search. I find myself asking Mr. Google to find things for me around the house now. I’ve also been a little afraid of some of the searches that I’ve seen lately – particularly the ones for Craig Minervini. That just seems wrong and I’m bothered that this site is associated with such things (Thom Brenneman too - although I suppose that I should stop writing about both of them too and then the hits I get reltaed to them will stop). There have also been a number of click-throughs relating to free donuts, which I am obsessed with, so it's hard to complain.

Andrea (TCNJ): Everyone made a big deal about that Almonte kid because he was two years older than his competition. Do you think that's why Bonds has been so dominant lately? He seems to have a huge age advantage.

How does the saying go? I think it's "you cannot be serious." For those of you who don't remember, "that Almonte kid" is Danny Almonte, a 14-year old who played in the Little League World Series a few years back and dominated. It was a great story. Well, it was until everyone realized he was fourteen, since the age limit for the tournament is 12. For those of you who didn't play Little League, playing on a 12-year old's field at age 14 (remember that 12-year olds still play with a 46-foot mound and 60-foot bases) is a decided advantage. Think about it. Go out there and play all out against your 10-year old. You'd look pretty good.

But to assert that the Danny Almonte phenomenon is what's benefitting Barry Bonds in his recent dramatic run up baseball's all-time record books is beyond absurd. To me it indicates that the person who formulated the question may not even be a human. Have you gotten older? Do you remember what it was like when you were 12 and later 14? How does that compare to when you were 20? 25? 30? 40? I'm 26 and I can tell you already that I don't feel anymore like I did when I was 14. I can only imagine what it will be like when I'm 40.

What Barry is doing is because he's a freak of nature, has specialists all over the place (cooks, people who stretch him, etc), and he works hard and takes care of himself. (Sure, he might have used an illegal substance or two, but that's all speculation and we really don't know). If aging made players better, you'd see a lot more 40-year olds in the major leagues than 20-year olds and the draft every year would consist of guys from beer leagues instead of guys finishing high school and/or a couple years of college.

Hey Mike - what's up with the quotes changing all of the time? I don't get it...

Yes, I do tend to change the quotes a lot. Sometimes I find the quotes to be funny - like the Bill James one about outlawing soccer. I was surprised too to see that a number of you took umbrage with me taking down the stadium deadline counter (which by the way, has long since passed and Mr. Samson has not yet gone through with his offer of jumping off of a bridge).

I suppose none of that really answers your question though... I just change the quotes when I feel like it. So deal with it. Or suggest a quote of your own even.

...the NCAA is considering making the 12th game permanent. Is this something you see possible? I would love to see Florida play Miami every year again.
--Jeff, Jacksonville

I'd like to see the 12th game become a permanent part of the NCAA football schedule too. There's little else I like more in the fall than football on a Saturday afternoon. But if you really think that the Florida Gators would agree to play Miami annually if a 12th game was a possibility each year, you may need to move out of Jacksonville. Apparently the stench from Canesville, er Gainesville, is getting to your brain. Florida was happy to schedule Miami for the last two years, but only because that scheduling was done in the late 90s when Miami was on probation and not playing up to the dominant level that we've all become accustomed to seeing over the last twenty-some years. The only way the Gators would agree to play Miami in football each year, heck, they won't even play them in baseball regularly anymore, is if the Canes would agree to have the game played in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (they don't have the audacity to call it the Swamp anymore do they?) or possibly in Orlando.

Mike - How come there aren't ever any pictures on your page?

Well, the truth of the matter is that I'm less technically literate than I would like for y'all to believe. It's sad but true. There are a few pictures though. The Bonds counter on the right, for instance, is technically a picture - one which I stole from another blogger, who had already stolen it from some newspaper.

Since you asked about pictures though, I'll share one that I came across today that I found funny. Now politics aside, I don't like to make fun of the President, regardless of my personal feelings about him - pro or con - but this picture struck me as funny. I'm sure all of us could be photographed at some time during the day in a funny pose like this, and I just thought it was good for a laugh.

Andrew (Madison, WI): Why can't Josh Beckett pitch significantly above .500?

The simple answer I'm afraid, without sending Mr. Beckett to a sports psychologist - which I hope the Marlins are doing, is that Beckett is still a thrower and has not yet developed into a pitcher. He's still young and there's definitely time for him to emerge into a true pitcher, a la Greg Maddux - or more appropriately Roger Clemens. But I also think it's fair to say that it's starting to become less and less likely that Beckett will have a career like Roger Clemens (not that anyone else in modern times really has) and that he's just going to be a good or slightly better than average pitcher.

I make the comment about Beckett needing to see a sports psychologist because it is starting to become more apparent that Beckett can lose his focus - both on the mound and off of it. He seemed to be more upset about Ken Griffey staring into the dugout/crowd the other night after his home run than Griffey was about having the batter in front of him intentionally walked. The media in South Florida has also regularly begun to report about Beckett's moodiness and surliness, and to date this season he's failed to live up to his declaration before the season that he would be the "ace" of the staff this year. Brad Penny and Carl Pavano have both been more consistent than Beckett, and Dontrelle Willis has shone brighter at times.

Hopefully Beckett can put it together and become less of a .500 pitcher and more like a 20-game winner each year, but so far, I'm not counting on it.

So Mike - do you ever do anything that's not baseball related? I remember you talking about Hurricanes football once in awhile, but that's still sports. Do you do anything else other than baseball?

Truthfully, only occassionally, and I try to avoid such extra curriculars as much as possible. But as you can see from my book list, I do read and I even read some things that aren't baseball related.

In fact, to show you that I'm a little bit more well rounded than might come across on this blog, I'll give you a link to a website that I'm thinking of making a donation to. Check it out. Even if you're not into the cause, I'm sure you'll find it amusing, particularly this post about a hotel room in the middle of nowhere. This fellow seems like an interesting character. For those of you too lazy (or to loyal to this site) to click on the link: a man is riding his bike across America this summer in order to visit all 30 major league baseball stadiums. Surely you're now saying "but Mike, that's clearly baseball related," and it is, but he's also doing it to raise money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Interestingly, his wife is supporting him in this endeavor, even though it means he has been forced to sell his house (as I'm imagining there's not a lot of money coming in when you're off riding your bike across America, literally). I give the guy credit though, I wouldn't have been willing to ride my bike from Miami to Tampa, as he's already done - and that was one of the shorter legs of his journey.

I just read your article on the Cardinals' very real possibility of losing Renteria to free agency. Any hope for the Marlins to enter those sweepstakes? I know they just signed Alex Gonzalez to an extension, but the guy is absolutely brutal at the plate (even though he's equally as brilliant in the field).
-- Justin Varnum, Tampa, Fla.

A truly delicious thought, but definitely too much to hope for. Although most of those who did the unloading following the 1997 World Series Championship are long gone, I still can't see the Marlins taking back Renteria to replace Gonzalez, since much of the reasoning for getting rid of Renteria in the first place was because Dave Dombrowski, amongst others in the organization, felt that Gonzalez was the better player and would evidence that very quickly. Now it's six years later, and other than a few quick flashes, none of us has seen that anywhere. Besides, Renteria would probably cost as much as the rest of the fairly well paid infield (Lowell, Castillo, and Choi) combined, so I just don't see it happening. I would love for it to happen though.


Post a Comment

<< Home