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Soup of This Day #130: Take A Ride On The West Coast Kick

February 1, 2012

DeLorean DMC-12
A DeLorean DMC-12. Fire up Mr Fusion and shut the gull-wing doors – Photo: Kevin Abato, 2006. Kevin Abato has no affiliation with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.

I’m writing this while on holiday. It’s a low-key holiday – I haven’t gone anywhere, I’ve just taken a break from work and divvied up the time between my wife, The Noah, assorted odds-and-ends tasks and this blog. Some or all of that I’m trying to cover from the comfort of a couch.

In spite of the lack of travel it’s turned out to be quite a nice holiday. So far I’ve read some books, taken the Noah to the Western Australian Museum and AQWA, the Aquarium of Western Australia, and spent some time contemplating stuff. Contemplation is this blog’s thing – Contemplation of sport for the most part. But this is a holiday and they’re as a good as a change so I’ve taken to contemplating other stuff too.

Like the future.

Wondering what is going to happen is a big thing when you suffer from depression with a side of anxiety. It would be really useful for instance and maybe just a little calming if Longworth72 could know for certain that he wasn’t going to get cancer. Of any form. It’s just that it’s claimed half my family and you know, statistically there’s some stress right there…

More balanced people would probably just want to know the winner of the Superbowl XLVI.

The Patriots.

Or the Giants?

Nope, definitely the Patriots. Brady runs an offence that hits on 3rd and something at least once in a game. The 49ers struggled with that and even then the Giants barely got over the line.

So now you know and you can run off and place a bet. When time travel is invented you’ll zip forward in a modified 1982 DeLorean to discover that you’re really quite successful.

But wait, there’s a problem with that plot line.

Well 2, if you count plagiarism.

In Back to the Future, they zip forward 30 years to a place where they don’t need roads. Because the cars fly, see. Actually even the skateboards fly, sort of. They do hover and that amounts to flying, although they don’t do so well over water. But that’s ok because when you get wet the clothes dry themselves while you wear them. Just 1 catch – The jump-off point was in 1985 and 30 years from then is in…ummm…

In 2015.

Which is 3 years away.

We won’t need roads then.

Techie people – You need to get cracking folks. Don’t misunderstand me – I’m happy with a lot of the stuff you’ve done since 1985, believe me. I like the Internet. The ordering pizza online thing where I can see at what stage my pizza is at is just magical. The whole smashing particles stuff in the Large Hadron Collider is also very cool, if a little worrying in a ‘Hey, did you guys just make a black hole?’ kind of way. It’s just that I also want a hoverboard, self-drying clothes and flying cars.

In 3 years.

I’ll probably need to learn how to skateboard by then too but I’m prepared for that – I’m ready to experience a little pain now so I can have the optimum experience in the future.

The Boston Red Sox have a similar philosophy in play across the offseason at the moment. They had Marco Scutaro at shortstop in 2011. Scut was 1 of the few who gets out of the embers of last season without being completely scorched by the September collapse. His defence was solid and his offence actually contributed good stuff down the stretch. Sure, Marco is 36 and he tagged $6m on the payroll for 2012 but he is worth it.

Not so much says Fenway.

Marco Scutaro has been traded to the Rockies for Clayton Mortensen, another pitching prospect who may turn out to be the 1, like Keanu Reeves in The Matrix. At 26 Clayton hasn’t really shown that yet but maybe he will. And the Red Sox seem to be working on a pitching plan that involves creating a super ‘definitely’ out of a whole flotilla of ‘maybes’. Fenway seems to be chockers with possible talent wandering around shrugging their shoulders – ‘Maybe I could be the middle-reliever you’re looking for,’ you’ll hear 1 trail off plaintively. Maybe, the whole bunch of maybes will equate to a probably not. Or not…

And that’s before we get on to the vexing question of, given that Scutaro is not the 1 at shortstop, who exactly will be parked at 6 on the diamond for the Red Sox in 2012? Well the answer apparently is a ‘platooning’ of vets Nick Punto (34 years old) and Mike Aviles (30) with Jose Iglesias (22) as the youngster set to inherit the role going forward, once he’s had a little seasoning. More seasoning than he got last year anyway, as he batted just .235 at AAA Pawtucket with an OPS of .554 across 101 games.

According to the Globe’s Extra Bases blog the Red Sox have used 24 players across shortstop since 2004. Julio Lugo, with 245 starts, has had the most time there, with Scutaro (233) not far behind. Over at the Yankees, Derek Jeter has had 1,179 starts at shortstop across the same time. Jose Iglesias meanwhile, the short stop of the future, has had 1 start. Which does make sense – The shortstop of the future would hardly be posting big numbers now, otherwise he’d be the shortstop of, well… now. Nope, Iglesias is the shortstop of the future and Puviles (or Avunto if you prefer) will be the shortstop of now, or more correctly, soon.

Which may sound mocking but it isn’t meant to be – I kind of like this scooping up of bargains and not just because it makes us look like cool Oakland in Moneyball or because it’s probably confounding Scott Boras in an amusing way. No, I’m down with it because a bunch of hungry journeymen will not be taking that jersey for granted – I’m guessing that Clayton Mortenson wants a job more than he wants a cold beer and some fried chicken round the bottom of the 8th in the Fenway home clubhouse.

Yeah, we could get the shortstop of now but in the very ‘now’ Prince Fielder just got 9 years and $214m out of Detroit, admittedly with a little help from Scott Boras and Victor Martinez’ knee. And in recent history John Lackey got 5 years and $82.5m from the Red Sox, about the same time that Jayson Werth got 7 years and $126m from the Nats, with a little help from Scott Boras.

For the record in 2011, Fielder hit .299, with 38 home runs and an OPS of .981, so maybe he was worth some cash. John Lackey though threw an ERA of 6.41 (WHIP 1.619) while Werth hit at .232 with an OPS of .718. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that you can spend a lot of money for not a lot of immediacy.

Back to the past for a moment and I like Scut – I wish him well in Colorado. For some reason my favourite memory of the dude is July 17, last year. The Sox went to 16 innings against Tampa Bay. With Reddick on 2nd off of a walk and a Tek sac fly, Scut singled to send Josh to 3rd, to a cry of ‘Scooooooooo-taro’ from the caller. Pedroia then batted home Reddick for the eventual winning run. I guess that stretch of play resonates today because, of the 4, only Pedroia now remains on the Sox roster.

And finally: Worrying about cancer is ok – Doing something about cancer is better. Major League Baseball runs the Stand Up To Cancer program with the tagline, ‘This is where the end of cancer begins.’ Meanwhile down in Texas Lance Armstrong and a bunch of committed people are waging their own war against the big c via Livestrong. In Australia the Cancer Council also does a lot of good stuff, helping with research as well as providing some cool sun-smart gear to ward off nasty melanomas across the summer.

I’m going to take a nap now and dream of flying a DeLorean through the sky in a world without cancer…

Take A Ride On The West Coast Kick

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