No, not "Lindy v. Dan = Over": "Pitchers and Catchers Report."
That means Spring Training has begun. A tradition that dates back to when professional baseball players were so poorly paid that they had to have off-season jobs, some of which involved sitting on their asses and not being in shape to play (not that there's anything wrong with that . . . unless you're paid to be in shape). Nowadays, Spring Training is primarily about deciding which over-paid veterans will not lose their jobs, which highly-talented minor-leaguers will be held back until May so they cannot become arbitration-eligible until their fourth year in the League, or free agents until their seventh year in the League, and which marginal players will be used to balance the team's budget in the meantime.
So, time for some Mariners. If this year is anything like last year, I'll do my best to add sports content to Slog, and then lose momentum, get busy, and give up sometime in July.
Sort of like Milton Bradley's 2010 season for the Mariners.
Playoffs coming if … the other three teams secede from the West. Recovering from 101 losses to claim a division is an impossibility.
Well, OK, what other factors might come into play?
Uh, well, Eric Wedge, the new Mariners skipper, managed Milton back in the day. It didn't go so well, as Milton once appeared in the Cleveland clubhouse wearing a t-shirt that read "Fuck Erick Wedge." Bradley claims to be over it.
Nonetheless, the M's own website says:
Will they roll the dice again with Milton Bradley?
There are 12 million reasons why veteran outfielder Milton Bradley might be kept on the Mariners' roster, given that's the dollar figure on the final year of his guaranteed contract. There's also the fact that Bradley — if healthy and right — offers much-needed offense to a team that can use all of that it can get. But he played just 73 games in '10 due to a stint on the restricted list and eventually a knee problem, hitting .205 with a .292 on-base percentage, both about 70 points off his career norms. The Mariners say they're ready to give Bradley another shot despite an '04 run-in with Wedge that got him run out of Cleveland. Whether the much-traveled Bradley ultimately is worth the trouble remains to be seen.
So, many things that are in play remain to be seen. But clearly, the slingers of cliches in play that remain to be seen are already in mid-season form. Myself, I look forward to seeing the M's live in Spring Training (any Slog readers who plan to be in Arizona between March 21-25, get in touch: we can heckle Milton together! I've got tickets for the Friday March 25 game at Ho Ho Kam and might have an extra).
Also, as many Sports-savvy Slog commenters have pointed out, last year, Milton was the least of the Mariners' problems. Ken Griffey Jr. was a much bigger problem, with his sentimental refusal to just, you know, get out while the getting was good. Until he did. So thank God that Junior—a first-ballot Hall of Famer in my book, just for the record--is going to be a consultant for the M's. That should help come 2015 or so.
Pitchers and Catchers Report. Cynics and Stoics have been in Spring Training forever. And yes, the Cubs will suck this year.