Winter can be a painfully depressing time for a New Englander. Vast white and gray landscapes, short days and day after day without warmth can wreck havoc on a soul. To complicate matters, there is no baseball except in the memories, the stat sites and with the writing of fine colleagues of the General Chapter of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. Reading their work has helped get this New Englander through another long winter. A surprisingly warm spell hit this area of the world this week and three feet of snow melted in four days. The ground lays bare with just a few remnants of blackened and mottled snow. The thaw is here. The sump pump is humming. Recreational baseball is being played in Arizona and Florida and the General Chapter is chirping happily from their fingertips. Here are Thursday's links:
Who doesn't love prediction posts this time of year? This Fan will break out his own crystal ball here in a week or so. In the mean time, what do you think of For Baseball Junkies predictions?
The Baseball Index is doing their own prognosticating and selects its key players for each team in the National League East.
Got to love trick shots performed with a baseball bat. Perhaps you've seen that viral video of that guy hitting a ball into the nets strategically placed around the infield. If you loved that, you'll love this one featured on The Golden Sombrero. And congrats to Mike Rosenbaum for his new gig at The Bleacher Report. He promises he will still maintain his site though.
If you love great writing and baseball cards, check no further than Grubby Glove's latest entry.
Leave it to the Hall of Very Good to find the second coming of the Batting Stance Guy. And he is terrific too. Just like HOVG.
Yes!! Theo of Hot Corner Harbor has another installment of his great series on retired numbers.
The Fan's good friend and writer of Left Field explains in a lovely piece how he developed such a eclectic taste in music.
Thank goodness for Michael Schwartze! This Fan can never figure out easily who is a rookie and who isn't. Now all this Fan has to do is go to Mike's post over at MLB Dirt and refresh the memory.Oh, and check out the Fan's post over there this week. It was a fun one to write.
Watching spring baseball can get...umm...boring after a while. Sam Evans of MLB Reports has some great suggestions on how to punch it up a bit. You go, Sam.
Nik has been listing the top ten players on each team for the past couple of weeks over at his Niktig's Baseball Blog. Check this one out on the Red Sox.
So this Fan was hoping to someday see Trevor Bauer do that long toss thing he does. So it was a miracle of sorts when MTD came through with a video of said event on his Off Base Percentage site.. And it's amazing. Make sure you click the full screen thingy on the video to get the full scope. And then hit escape to read MTD's always terrific writing of the feat we just saw.
Old Time Family Baseball always has lots of exotic and kinky baseball stuff to enjoy everyday. Unfortunately, this Fan hasn't been able to figure out how to link the ones it doesn't title. So the link is to the site and then scroll down to find the cool rally hat.
Geoff Ratliff of the Pop Fly Boys gives us ten fantasy baseball players to shoot for in his latest post. And he gives all the appropriate warnings too.
In a post that only TCM could pull off, his The Platoon Advantage post tells George Brett to shut up.
This Fan is probably the only guy in America that hates March Madness. But if it's your thing, check out Rational Pastime's bracket challenge series. It's so good that the Fan almost got interested.
Speaking of that NCAA extravaganza, The Sports Banter made some predictions.
Sully of Sully Baseball somehow predicted American Idol's theme night topic with his heading for his great piece on the Mets this week.
In probably this Fan's favorite post this week, Jeff Dickinson of Through the Fence Baseball asks the great question: Is Jerry Sands the next Paul Konerko?
Mike Cardano of the X-Log tries to dampen our enthusiasm of Yeonis Cespedes and has a point.
Jeremy Wolf is in prediction mode as he's begun a series over at his Wolf's Den site. This one is on the Cardinals.
Staying in prediction mode, Eugene Tierney of 85% Sports fame previews the Philadelphia Phillies.
For years now, previewing the Pittsburgh Pirates has been a drag. Ryan Sendek's 2012 version isn't anything of the sort over at his Analysis Around the Horn site.
Has the Fan told you that he adores Babes Love Baseball's Haiku season previews? This version is for the Baltimore Orioles and check out that picture! How perfect! We also learn that J.J. Hardy is a hottie.
Daniel over at The Ball Caps Blog pays tribute to some female sports writers and rightly so. There needs to be a book on this topic!
Somehow the Fan missed this on Twitter, but Dirk Hayhurst has left Italian baseball behind. Stevo-sama of the terrific The Baseball Enthusiast fills us in on the details.
Baseball Unrated has the headline of the year. Seriously, how can you ever top, "The Tortoise and LaHair"? You can't.
FHPromos of Baseballism bounces off a Tyler Kepner article on this Fan's favorite 2012 topic. Oh pleeeease let it come true Rockies!
Justin Jabs ranks first basemen in a great offering on his Baseblog site.
Mario Salvini covers the recent flap of C.J. Wilson's Twitter prank on Mike Napoli at his Che Palle! site. This Fan didn't think it was funny.
The predictions barrel on in spectacular fashion as Matt Whitener previews the AL Central over at Cheap.Seats.Please.
Dizzy Valance of the Crum-Bum Beat starts us off with a great picture and it is all good from there in his sleeper picks of 2012.
The Diamond Hogger's TheNaturalMevs gives us ten bold predictions for 2012. Yes, they are bold. But they make sense.
And finally, Dugout 24 reports on Lance Berkman's shy comments to the commissioner this past week. Yup. Berkman is shy all right.
Have a great week everyone. Real baseball is almost here!