I'm back from a much needed week away from winter. We had a great time cruising the Caribbean. The only bad part was coming home to a blast of winter. It is incredibly cold here right now. The good part is I don't have to go out today, all I have to do is wrap presents and, enjoy some Christmas time with family.
I spent a surprising amount of time on the cruise talking baseball. Wearing a Blue Jays cap seemed to invite conversation about the team, and since you don't get a lot of news from the outside world on the boat, that I knew we were trading for R.A, Dickey, gave me information to share.
I had a nice chat with an older fellow who had watched baseball since he was a kid. He saw Ted Williams play, Bob Feller pitch. He didn't see Babe Ruth play, but saw him after he retired. I really like talking to people who got to see guys that I think of as legends actually play. He also told me about being in Toronto and watching Dave Stieb take a no-hitter into the 9th inning. I also spoke to some Rays' fans who were curious about Yunel Escobar, as well as some Marlin fans who were curious about the prospects we sent them. And, of course, Blue Jay fans. We are everywhere these days.
I figured it would be a good week to get away, nothing was likely to happen. Got that one wrong. A big thank you to Minor Leaguer for staying on top of it all. I think there was a new 'best day ever' for visits to the site during it all.
I'll admit, at first I wasn't exactly thrilled about the deal. I've been looking forward to seeing Travis d'Arnaud play for us. It seemed like such a reversal from the moves that Alex had been making, these past couple of years, it was pretty tough to get my head around. But, given time to think about it, isn't it great to have a team that is making 'win now' trades?
I'll admit I was looking for some win now moves last year. I've been patient for a long time, I really want to cheer for a winner. As much as I like seeing young players come up to the majors and grow into major league life, I WANT A WINNER.
And, I really like watching knuckleball pitchers, or, as Dickey said a Canuckleball pitcher. I've never understood why more pitchers in the minors don't try the pitch. Knuckleball pitchers seem to have unusual success in the majors. I think, if I were running things, I'd ask a couple of pitchers in the lower minors to try the pitch.
I guess the argument against it is that it is a tough pitch for young catchers to deal with, that it might slow the development of catchers, but then there are always older catchers looking for work, sign one and have been follow along with the pitcher through the minor leagues.
The other argument is that the is hard to admit, if you are a young pitcher, that you need a 'trick pitch' to make it to the majors. If you were drafted you've had success with what you throw. picking up a knuckleball is like giving up on got you to professional ball. To make it to profession baseball, you really have to have confidence in what you throw. It would be a mental leap to suddenly say 'I need to give up on what got me here and learn a whole new pitch'. Especially when it is a pitch that is very tough to control, and, even when you throw it for a strike, is likely to dodge your catcher's glove.
And, of course, as Charlie Hough said, when asked why there aren't more knucleball pitchers:
Why don't more pitchers throw 95 mph? Because it's really hard to do!
Anyway, I don't have much of a point to this post, other than I'm sort of happy to be home. Though another week away would have been ok too.
I hope you all have a happy Christmas, I've gotta go wrap stuff.