USA TODAY Sports
This week's edition looks at Friday night's action, the Indians top prospects, and legal chicanery by Major League Baseball.
The Indians dropped Friday night's Cactus League game with the Diamondbacks, 7-5. Justin Masterson went five innings, allowing five runs, but shoddy defense was largely to blame. He struck out seven, so there's that. Mark Reynolds hit his third home run of the spring. You can find a recap here and a boxscore here. Saturday the Tribe will take on the Mariners at 4:10. The game will be televised on MLB Network in the Cleveland area. Scott Kazmir gets the start. With two scheduled starts to go, Kazmir has got to be the favorite for the 5th spot in the rotation, it would be nice to see him put the issue to rest with another strong outing.
Jordan Bastian's notes at Indians.com from yesterday include word on Jason Kipnis missing the last few games with a sore right elbow (he says he'd be playing if it were the regular season) and Terry Francona being far more agressive on 3-0 counts than Manny Acta was. Francona's Boston teams hit .526 on 3-0 counts and collected 40 hits on such counts during his time there (which seems like a small number, but was second-most among all MLB teams), while Acta's Indians went only 1 for 11 over his three years at the helm.
At Fangraphs, Mike Newman has a take on Francisco Lindor and Dorssys Paulino, and which is more likely to be the Indians' shortstop of the future. Such a conflict is a pretty nice problem to have, no?
At The Hardball Times, James Gentile looks at the most left-handed lineups in baseball since 1960. #1 on the list? The 2012 Indians (it isn't close). The distant #2 finisher? The 2011 Indians! The article also examines the least left-handed lineups over those years and looks at how good each of these offenses was. Five of the twelve most left-handed teams come from the last two years, while the 2010 Marlins are the only team from the last decade on the least left-handed list.
Major League Baseball is suing Biogenesis in an effort to get its hands on a list of the players in their records, so that it can punish Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez for the offenses it suspects them of. NBC Hardball Talk's Craig Calcaterra (who spent years as a lawyer before getting into the blogging racket) says the lawsuit is nonsense and should be "laughed out of court." Hardball Talk also has the full legal brief posted, if anyone wants to read all fourteen pages of it.
Turning to music, something we can all disagree on... Let's look at bands (singers, acts, artists, etc.) Limiting myself to just six from all of music history seems too difficult. I need a category. I don't listen to varied enough music to compile a worthwhile list for many genres, and besides, I'd end up offending someone by listing their favorite electronica as electropop, and that's the kind of slight people never get over. Eras seems like a better way to go. I'm going to skip to after WWII, which means I should apologize to classical music, Robert Johnson, and Glenn Miller fans. Speaking of Miller and WWII, did you know the popular bandleader is presumed to have died in a plane crash into the English Channel? His plane disappeared while he was on his way to entertain troops in France.
My favorite musical acts of the 1950s and 60s:
6) The Who - They're hurt here by having some of their best stuff come out in the 70s. Much of their 60s output was mod and/or weird, but I like a lot of their weird stuff.
5) Johnny Cash - If you are ever on a road trip out West, you should listen to some Johnny Cash. Also, if you intend to bring your gun to town, you should listen to some Johnny Cash.
4) Led Zeppelin - They'd be higher, but the 60s only included their first two albums. Those two albums are still enough for me to put them on the list.
3) The Velvet Underground - The first Velvet Underground album sold only 30,000 copies in its early years, but "everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band." - Brian Eno
2) Otis Redding - Certainly there are cases to be made for others, but for my money, he was the greatest R&B/soul artist of the era.
1) The Rolling Stones - If I could only listen to one band for the rest of my life, it's be the Stones (how about you???). They're like two or three bands packed into one.
No Beatles?! No Dylan?! No Elvis?! Frankly, I enjoy many songs by each of them, but they don't speak to me quite the way those on my list do. To some extent, I think artists like those ones (the Stones and Zeppelin fit this mold too), they're so big that if you don't REALLY love them, it's easily to feel like you don't like them, even though you do. Sometimes they same thing happens to me with football, because I don't love it as much as so many others clearly do. Maybe I'm making that whole concept up though, who knows?