Being a Major League franchise’s top prospect can’t be easy. With the big money post-draft signing bonuses, a constantly lecherous media hype and swarms of unwaveringly moody fans who want-want-want now-now-now, I imagine the amount of pressure that young, talented baseballers put on themselves is beyond my pedestrian understanding.
But I do know this: every great once in a while, that young talent becomes Jason Heyward. Most of the time, however, that talent ends up being Felix Pie… or Cameron Maybin… or Todd Van Poppel.
Brandon Wood is in a class all by himself.
Drafted in 2003, the buzz around Wood (the Angels’ top prospect for at least six years now) has been simmering with whispers of his immense, raw talent evidenced as he plowed through and destroyed the minor leagues. But despite the club’s confidence in his abilities, Wood has been unable to escape the scary truth: he just hasn’t hit at the Big League level.
The Angels designated him for assignment on Tuesday. By all accounts, it was a sad departure, for both he and the club.
But one of the things I love about baseball is that it is always eager to offer a second chance. Perhaps Wood will get picked up by a team that will give him a starting job, no questions asked. Perhaps the pressure that has built up and the disappointment that lingers over him can be brushed aside, forgotten. Perhaps Wood will allow himself to just be Brandon, and stop worrying about what everyone else thinks, wants, needs.
If he does that, maybe his talent will shine.
If things don’t work out, at least he can say he gave it his very best.
And there is absolutely no shame in that.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
In a year as dynamic as US American voters are shortsighted, finding just the right words to succinctly summarize all the goings on of MMX isn’t really as hard as I thought it might be. Sure, ‘Merican culture still clings to the absurd Canadian import or two and the global economy continues its tailspin while our government continues its fight in two unwinnable wars, but not all is gloom and doom, my friends.
In fact, personally speaking, 2010 was quite fantastic! I quit smoking, I got in the best shape of my life thus far, and I got to hang with my fanciful and oft repugnant colleague (and subsequent dear friend), Mr. Allen Krause, not once, but TWICE! First was the June baseball rendezvous in DC where we participated in a very special Strasmas celebration, then came an equally exciting Michigan Christmas, where I spent the holiday weekend with Mr. Krause and his family.
All told, it was the best of times, it was the… no. It was just the best of times.
Hell, we even got treated to a non-powerhouse World Series, where the Giants defeat over the Rangers inspired small markets all over North America to think about one thing and one thing only: pitching, pitching, pitching. And, of course, no RSBS review of 2010 could go without mentioning the inception of our very own Podcast, one that continues to kick butt on a sometimes semi-weekly basis.
That’s right. Red State Blue State knows no bounds… and neither do the following top five Allen Krause penned gems of 2010:
2nd Honorable Mention:
We All Lose
Now and forever, September 11 will never be the same. I know that. You know that. Mr. Krause knows that. But through his strong dislike for all things pink in baseball and, of course, bigotry, Mr. Krause was able to both enlighten and entertain on this hallowed day. His message? Simple: “Hate kills.”
RSBS Presents: Chili
Personal note: If you want to coax Mr. Krause into doing… well, anything… tempt him with chili. Just know that it better be good chili if you want to be successful. Mr. Krause ain’t no slacker when it comes to this US American staple, which he proves with this eloquent presentation full of chili flavor. Plus, whenever a writer is able to use “scatalogy”, “concoction” and “awe-inspiring” in the same paragraph, he deserves a reward of some kind.
2nd Runner Up:
Understated to the End
Losing our heroes is never easy. And when Sparky Anderson died, my thoughts immediately went out to Tiger nation, and more specifically, Mr. Krause. Of course, I knew it was only a matter of time before a bit of literary magic would grace the pages of RSBS, and with his ode to ole Sparky finely tuned to an equally understated former president, Mr. Krause did not disappoint.
1st Runner Up:
Catastrophe in Multiple Forms
While compassionate might not be the first adjective (or the five hundred and first) adjective that comes to mind when I think of Mr. Krause, I can say that if he shows any, it is definitely genuine. Such is the case here, where his sentient empathy crosses paths with lots of bloody nipples and Austin Collie’s head.
And the Winner is…:
RSBS Presents: A Baseball Fan’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse
There are two types of people in this world: those who are ready for the baseball zombies, and those who ain’t. Read this and you will be more than ready. Skip it and your brains are as good as gone by the chomp-slathering undead jaws of Pete Incaviglia and Todd Van Poppel. ‘Cuz the zombies are real. They are coming. And they all fear Mr. Allen Krause.
Another year down, another horizon to chase. Big things are happening, and we’re glad that YOU, dear reader, are a part of it.
Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow. Until then, don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right!
Strasburg is looking pretty good in the minors but the Nationals are
putting together a surprisingly decent season so far. How long before
he comes up to join the club and what kind of impact will he have?
Before I say anything, I just gotta ask: are you the same Ashley from Frankenmuth that my nefarious and oft sedated colleague Mr. Krause used to usher in and out of our college dormroom at odd hours back in the day, so as not to draw attention to his haphazard extracurricular activities?
If you’re not, then just pretend this piece starts… now:
Okay, Stephen Strasburg. Fine. But please realize I ain’t no analyst. I am not an insider. I don’t have an ear within the organization nor do I claim to know what any of the higher-ups are actually doing. I only have access to the same information you do… and considering that, I can tell you this:
Stephen Strasburg is wicked sick.
Believe me, I did not want to like this kid. At all. I cannot stand the overhyping of a young someone who has never faced any serious Major League competition, ever, in his life. Sure, every once in a while the media gets it right. But rarely. For every Jason Heyward there are a bazillion Todd Van Poppels, Bill Pulsiphers, Brien Taylors. And that’s not even including the fizzlers who succumb to injury like Mark Prior and lackluster primadonnas like Pete Incaviglia.
But this Strasburg fella… I think he’s the real deal.
His motion is mechanically fluid. His ball has jump. He makes hitters look silly.
And his current line at AA Harrisburg reads as such:
3 W, 0.52 ERA, 0.577 WHIP, 11.9 SO/9
AND the Nationals are actually holding their own right now among the NL East hogs. To hear the talking sports heads tell it, if the Nats continue to compete and Strasburg continues to dominate, we could very well see him this season. And if we do, I would bet he’d destroy everyone he faces.
The first time around.
After that, it’s anyone’s guess.
But I do know one thing: when Strasburg does make it to the Bigs, he’ll be the most loved man in all of Washington, D.C. since January 20, 2009.
Hate me ‘cuz it ain’t illegal yet, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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