OpinionMarch 16, 2008

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Cleat Marks #2

By Madison Jones

Welcome to the second edition of Cleat Marks. In case you missed the first one, here’s a quick link to get an idea of what this series is about. For those of you who read the first edition, it seems Major League Baseball opening in Japan was a hot topic, so we’ll start this one off with some excitement and tension, even though the season hasn’t even started yet.

Fight! Fight! Fight!

As of this writing, it seems the tension might have eased a bit between the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays. I’m sure most everyone heard about Yankee catcher Francisco Cervelli suffering a broken wrist when Elliot Johnson of the Rays plowed into him at the plate last Saturday, and then the bench clearing brawl during their next game on Wednesday. The following Saturday, Alex Rodriguez had a golden opportunity to turn the tables and collide with Rays catcher Josh Paul at the plate, but instead, he allowed Paul to tag him out and that was that. Is it enough to stop the bad blood? Personally I’d say the problem is probably over, but it should be interesting to see these two teams face each other when it counts. All it takes is one person who’s carrying a grudge in order for there to be fireworks.

Baseball or hockey?

Speaking of the Yankees, anyone else hear about the possibility of the final thing to happen at the old Yankee Stadium being a New York Rangers NHL game? Turns out that outdoor hockey is the “in” thing. Fans seem to love it, and the NHL is trying to capitalize on it while it’s popular. I can’t blame the NHL in the least for that, hockey needs all the fans it can get. However, as a baseball fan, a hockey game as the final thing in a baseball stadium before it shuts down for good just strikes me as odd. Seems some Yankee fans are fine with it, while others would prefer the final thing in the old stadium to be Yankee related. I’m unsure as to what the majority of Yankee fans think, I’ve only had a small sample size of opinions I’ve heard or read on the topic. So what do you think?

The Devil made us do it!

Backing up to the Rays, how about them dropping “Devil” from the name? I myself don’t like it. “Devil Rays” has always had a nice ring to it, at least to me. Now just being the plain old “Rays”, it seems a bit boring, especially given that the team is full of exciting youngsters to watch. And I mean no offense to Tampa Bay fans out there, you’ve got a very good group of guys out there who will play some great ball, I just don’t like the name change. Even “Manta Rays” would have been a little better. Not much, but a little.

A somber note.

One last thing while we’re talking about the Rays, and it’s a serious one. Word has come out that Rocco Baldelli is suffering from either a metabolic condition, or a mitochondrial condition that leaves him very tired and saps him of energy. A clear diagnosis has not come out yet. Unfortunately, this isn’t a simple situation of sitting out on the DL for awhile and rebuilding his strength, this could have much more serious repercussions where baseball is completely irrelevant. I’d like to extend nothing but warm wishes to Rocco, the Rays, his family, his friends, and his fans. Good luck Rocco, I wish you nothing but the best.

I’ll wrap up this edition of Cleat Marks on that note, but I’ll write again soon about whatever happens to leave an impression on me in the world of baseball. Feel free to click the link in the box below if you’d like to discuss something in this article or series. The season is almost here. Are you ready? I know I am.

Madison Jones is always lurking in the shadows of the Cafe. When he does venture into the forums, you can find him posting as Madison.
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