The atmosphere at U.S. Cellular Field was electric, as a crowd of 40,354 rabid Sox fans dressed in black witnessed one of the most exciting games in Comiskey Park/U.S. Cellular Field history. The “blackout” was a success, as the Sox did what the University of Georgia could not do Saturday night.
In addition to losing Crain, the Twins lost Matt Guerrier to the Dodgers, Brian Fuentes to the Athletics, and Jon Rauch to the blue Jays. Additionally, their former all star closer Joe Nathan is coming back after missing all of last season following Tommy John surgery. Also, a week into spring training Twins all star first baseman Justin Morneau had yet to play and there was no time table for his return as he continues to deal with a concussion he suffered mid way through last season. With the subtractions and uncertainty of key Twins, it seems that the Sox have overtaken Minnesota as they, along with the Detroit Tigers, battle for the division.
But Owens’ lack of power seems to have been masked over the years by his ability to steal bases. Owens went 30/43 on stolen base attempts in 2008 with Charlotte and stole 32 while with the sale jerseys in 2007, giving the impression that he epitomized the idea of “Ozzieball”-the idea of doing the little things such as bunting and stealing bases which some sale jerseys fans bought into in 2005 (a year in which the team hit 200 home runs).
Seeing as both starters have had relative success against either club, it wouldn’t be surprising to the series decided by the bullpen- which on paper Chicago decidedly has the upper hand.
One argument that is often used for keeping instant replay out of Major League Baseball is the “human element” that is involved in the game. The umpires are the first and only word when it comes to making calls out on the field. A bad call on a bang-bang play or different strike zones among empires could definitely change the course of a ballgame but that is the way the game has been played for a century and a half. Traditionalists would argue that baseball is as old fashioned a sport as you can get and the game should continue to be played in the same fashion.
I knew and liked Red Sox outfielder Tony Conigliaro. He was phenom. To put his talent in context, at age 19, his numbers when matched to others such as Alex Rodriguez, were far superior. Playing in the same outfield, he easily outhit future Hall-of-Famer Carl Yaztremski.
I would keep instant replay away from judgment calls such as whether a runner is safe or out. I would also not use it for balls and strikes. This way, the human element remains in the game and replay is only used when it is absolutely necessary. A play will only come under review when the umpires feel it necessary to do so. Umpires will be evaluated in the same manner they are now. Those that make too many mistakes will not be available to work postseason games and thus will lose out on bigger paychecks.
Peavy claims to be at 60-70 percent heading into spring training, so his velocity is likely to be lower than usual as his arm & shoulder regain strength. If he’s throwing 94 mph on his fastball by the end of spring, maybe there’s a chance he returns sooner than early May. But if his fastball is barely scraping 90 mph or is losing velocity early into outings, it’ll be a longer road back.