2. Joel Sherman wrote a thorough and convincing case for Rocket Clemens not only being the best pitcher of his generation, but the best pitcher of all-time in Sunday's Post. Sherman is one of the few tabliod writers who is open to Sabermetrics and he builds his case on the writings of Bill James and others. Surprisingly in-depth stuff from the Post (not Sherman, who is excellent on TV and on the radio):
Look, I know - as sterile as you make it - this is a subjective choice and folks who loved Koufax or Gibson or Grove are never going to take Clemens to their bosom. I have never particularly warmed to Clemens the person, but the more and more I have examined the record and considered the conditions that record was forged in, the more I have come to recognize the conversation about the greatest ever now must include Clemens.
It has taken me a while to warm up to Clemens too, but I promised myself during the winter that I would try and enjoy watching him get his 300th victory, no matter how obnoxious the YES coverage becomes. It hasn't been a struggle either. Clemens isn't the nasty, head-hunter he has been in the past---sometimes I miss that---but he has been fun to watch this year. Even in the games he's lost, he hasn't been awful. What I get out of watching Clemens, is just how much work pitching is for him. Forget about his legendary workouts, just watching him on the mound is a testament to the hard work it takes to be a great pitcher, let alone a great 40-year old pitcher. He can seem artless, pounding the ball in, time and time again, but he is impressive.
3. Gordon Edes details the emergence of Lil' Sori. Looks like we aren't alone in labeling him as a freak:
Teammate Jason Giambi has called Soriano a ''freak, a cartoon character.''
...Todd Zeile, new to the Yankees this season, is playing for his ninth big-league team.
''He can be as good as he wants to be,'' Zeile said. ''He's phenomenal. He can do all the things you can do in this game -- hit, hit with power, run, field.
''The thing I enjoy about him as much as anything is that he seems to have fun doing it. He plays with a smile on his face, like he's on a sandlot field. People think it's easy for him, but he works hard.
''He's quick and strong and swings a heavy bat, a long bat [35-inch, 33-ounce model]. He's not a guy who looks like the Hulk-type player we see in the big leagues, but he's quick -- he gets his power from the elbows down.
''Watch his swing -- he seems to start from nothing, but you slow it down and watch him, he lifts his foot but it doesn't go forward, he just puts his foot back down and gives you that short swing. He eliminates all that movement.''
Who will be the heroes and who will be the goats of the series? Of course, it's too early to tell, but my random picks for unsung heroes go to Bill James' boy, Todd Walker for the Sox, and the seldom-seen Bubba Trammell for the Bombers. It could be a long couple of days for both bullpens.
I will be linking to Ed Cossette's wonderful blog, Bambino's Curse each time the Yanks and Sox match-up this year, but you should go there even when the two rivals aren't playing each other.