Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Dean Palmer Retires

Dean Palmer retired today. Who? The Tigers' third baseman who had only played 87 games in the past three years due to injury, used to be a pretty good slugger and a good third baseman. Palmer hurt his neck again and just came to the conclusion that he couldn't stay healthy enough to play anymore. Palmer is 35.

Palmer had some very good years with pretty bad teams in his career with Texas, Kansas City and Detroit. Palmer hit over 25 homers six times in his career and over thirty four times. In his best years, he hit 38 homers twice. He also drove in over a hundred runs four times in his career and just missed it another year.

Dean Palmer's two weaknesses were strikeouts and injuries. Palmer struck out 1332 times in 1357 games and his strikeout average was higher than his lifetime batting average (.271 to .251). Injuries also took a toll as he missed most of the '94, '95, '97, '01, '02 and 2003 seasons limiting his overall value as a player.

He did seem to kill the Red Sox and the Yankees but he will be another one of those players who will fade out of the game without much notice and fanfare. Few will remember. That has been baseball throughout its history. The only difference now is that a player like Palmer fades away a mult-millionaire.

The Orioles Sign Mora to Multi-Year Contract

It was nice to see that the Orioles signed Melvin Mora to a multi-year deal. Mora came into his own last year and for half a year--before he came down with an injury--he was one of the best players in baseball and spent a long time at the top of the batting charts.

The only downside for Mora is that it took him a long time to put it together. He showed flashes of brilliance with the Mets but never with consistency. Now he is 32 and could be another Alex Gonzalez--a late bloomer.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

In a very interesting move, the Texas Rangers made Alex Rodriguez their team captain. Only a month after the team tried to unload him in the most talked about non-trade in history, they have now asked him to lead their players on and off the field. The move seems tinged with public relations butt-covering except that Buck Showalter's last captain was Don Mattingly--a pretty good track record.

What we will never know is how the move will be perceived by his fellow players, some of whom it was reported wanted him to go. There is always a fine line the best athlete on campus walks. Most envy him and the others fawn on him. Rodriguez has probably experienced both in spades. Neither typical reaction makes you a lot of friends.

The one thing on the side of Alex Rogriguez: He plays hard every day and he is consistent in his efforts on the field. He is not only the best hitting shortstop in the league, he has also made himself the best fielder. That takes hard work and dedication to your craft which has to impress even his most jaded teammate.

It will be interesting, but not for us. We only look from the outside in and have to decide after it's all over on whether or not to believe the inevitable auto-biography.

In another interesting story, a Cleveland Indians' minor league player from Japan, who has a good chance to make the majors this season, admitted to appearing in a gay porn video while in college in Japan. First, it's still too bad that we have to qualify the porn video by its category and second, it's sad that teams in his own country shunned him after it was known what he had done.

The refreshing part of this story is that the young man has been up front about his "acting" and acknowledges it to be a mistake. What is also refreshing is that the Indians have given him a chance and that players on his minor league teams have been supportive and accepting of him. Maybe we are making some strides in America yet.

The player says he is straight and made the movie for money. Well, that's been done before. He didn't hurt anyone and the one movie shouldn't have any bearing on what type of player or chance he will be given in the major leagues. I'm going to root for the kid and this Fan doesn't envy the abuse he will suffer at the hand of some fans.