Seeing as I just threatened to throw the Faerie Queene at my roommate unless she stopped singing the Pokemon song, now we have quiet. (If she's reading this: I love ya, Markel). If you have ever taken an English class in your life, you know the size of that thing. My lit teacher even suggested that employing it as a missile was an excellent idea for use. Entirely in good fun, of course.
Yes, well. The paragon of shittiness entitled the Orioles (although not yet descended to Pirates/Royals/D-rays depths).
1. Daniel Cabrera, RHP
2. Erik Bedard, LHP
3. Steve Trachsel, RHP
4. Jaret Wright, RHP
5. Hayden Penn, RHP
1. Danys Baez, RHP
3. Chris Ray, RHP
4. Adam Loewen, LHP
5. Scott Williamson, RHP
6. Jamie Walker, LHP
7. Todd Williams, RHP
1B Kevin Millar
2B Brian Roberts
SS Miguel Tejada
3B Melvin Mora
RF Nick Markakis
CF Corey Patterson
LF Jay Payton
C Ramon Hernandez
DH Jay Gibbons
The 500 Word Rundown
The Orioles are bad. There, I got it out of the way. They won a scant 70 games last year, and there's no real reason to expect that they'll make significant progress this year. There's certainly no way they're going to finish higher than fourth, and depending on if Tampa Bay plays up (down?) to its usual doormat status or not, they could even end up in the cellar. They did make some effort to upgrade the pitching, but Steve Trachsel and Jaret Wright are nobody's definition of ace.
As for the offense, it's the same group as last year, with the lone exceptions being the additions of Jay Payton from the A's and Aubrey Huff from the Astros. The Orioles have an overpriced, but admittedly quite durable and talented, shortstop in Tejada - another former A, what, is
As I'm taking a closer look at the Orioles, I'm getting puzzled. They do have some decent players, so it makes a little harder to understand how they're quite as bad as they are. I mean, they have a lot more talent than the Pirates/Royals-type teams, and yet they only outstripped the Pirates by three wins and the Royals by eight. The Orioles do have a craptastic owner, Peter D'Angelos, and an uninspiring front office in general, but you'd think that they'd be able to string together at least a smoke-and-mirrors illusion. There's certainly no chance for them in the AL East, and it's doubtful they'll even be close to the perpetual third-stringer Jays, but it makes one wonder why this Orioles team underwhelms so massively. Oh long past are the days when Cal Ripken Jr. and Brooks Robinson roamed the range...
Projected Finish: 73-89, fourth place, AL East
And now for the real life stuff. This week, the SLC softball team began their every-night practices (which will carry on for two weeks and then stop for break, before renewing just in time to start playing intercollegiate games) and man, I hurt. Our butts were kicked tonight - throwing, intense cardio/fitness drills, crunches, all that. It feels good, but I'm exhausted and the two extra hours of sleep that I'm able to glean on Wednesday mornings, due to philosophy starting at 11 AM instead of 9:30 AM as my classes do on all other days, will be most welcome.
This is Sarah Lawrence, not exactly your jock bastion, so we're pretty much reduced to groveling on our knees for the required 12 players to even field a team and play varsity games. We have at least 11 committed players, but still only about two pitchers, and we're not interested in playing Dusty Baker Syndrome with them; i.e. throw them until their arm starts to literally detach and has to be held on with spit and Elmer's glue. Hopefully it works out, otherwise we will have been working our butts off for nothing and that would really suck.
Well, anyway... this being, again, Sarah Lawrence, winning isn't the focus so much as getting out, playing, feeling good, etc., all admirable qualities, but I guess I dislike losing. Since we need anybody and everybody, we also accept people of varying skill levels - again, perfectly fine, but when I was running a throwing drill with two of my teammates tonight, there were times when I really wanted to say (but didn't) - "Christ, catch the damn ball." I kept throwing it right at them, and... they'd miss. I just hope that another few rounds of intense practice irons out the kinks. Now, it's not like I'm better than everyone, but at least I can throw the ball straight, levelly, and accurately, not flying off-target rainbows. Well, practice makes perfect. I'll say it here since I'm not going to say it anywhere else. I actually do like my teammates - they're fun and committed girls, and it's not my intent to badmouth them. Which leads me to my next point....
While we were doing stretches, the coaches apologized (!) for using "gender-specific language." I.E. "Let's go ladies!" or "Good job gals!" Excuse me? I understand that this is the land of the bleeding-heart liberals, but unless I missed something, this is a women's softball team, and therefore, this type of language should be perfectly appropriate. However, I suspect it has something to do with one of our new recruits, the first person I've met at SLC whose gender I honestly cannot discern. Looks like a boy, speaks mostly like a girl, plays on the women's softball team, and according to Facebook (tellingly, no gender listed) is into women. Have to admit that the gaydar at least went off immediately, but... guy playing on girl team? Transsexual playing on girl team? Girl playing on girl team? Don't get it. He/she is cute, too, but not knowing the gender is a bit of a stumbling block. I'm actually straight as an arrow, and I'm not into women like that, despite the large lesbian population at SLC... but, well.
This pisses me off. Nothing against her/him, my teammate, but rather the fact that suddenly we're not allowed to be "ladies" any more, and have to be some appropriately gender-neutral term. Let's get it out of the way - I hate the "PC phenomenon." I certainly don't believe in bigotry, or discrimination in any way, but I can't stand the pressing need to encapsulate everyone in such vague language as to be indistinguishable. I am not religious in the slightest, and I hold strong liberal political convictions, but one of my best friends is a conservative, southern Christian. You wouldn't call a group of Republicans the "Politically Neutral Party" if one Democrat was present, and I don't get why it's different here. Whatever gender he/she is, he/she signed up to play on a women's softball team, with women coaches, among other women, and therefore, should expect to be called what everyone else is being called. And please - "let's go ladies!" is not being used in a demeaning connotation. It's something to say to keep the blood pumping (and Christ, it was tonight... never gonna walk again...).
I don't believe in discrimination, but I don't believe in preferential treatment. Contrary to popular belief, the two are not the same - discrimination is to start from an equal footing and treat a party worse, while preferential treatment is to start from an equal footing and treat somebody better. In this case, on a women's softball team, we are all equal in gender, whether biologically or by association. So call us what we are. Girls who love sports and are eager to represent SLC in varsity games in this upcoming season. Go Gryphons.