Playing nine innings while appreciating how Felix Doubront (1.91 ERA over his last five starts) has picked up the slack ...
He actually began his career in the Mariners organization, signing as 18-year-old David Arias in 1994 and promptly hitting two homers in 188 plate appearances for their last-place Arizona Rookie League team.
And of course, Seattle was the baseball home for 18 years of the only DH more accomplished than Ortiz -- Edgar Martinez.
I'm a staunch supporter of Martinez's Hall of Fame case. Considering Ortiz is as productive as ever -- his current 1.048 OPS would rate as the third best over a full-season in his career, trailing just 2007 and '08 -- I'm beginning to think there will be plaque waiting for him in Cooperstown someday as well.
2. Jose Iglesias has lost 64 points off his batting average since his high of .451 (!!!) on June 15. And yet it would be foolish to say he is slumping -- he's gone 17 for 50 during that span, a .340 batting average. I still have no idea what he will ultimately be -- he's clearly improved in terms of confidence, approach, and pitch recognition, but that progress is also disguised somewhat by extraordinary luck on batted balls (.437 BABIP). But .340? That's no slump. That's a hot streak for a mere mortal.
3. Still, as fun as he has been to watch, I would absolutely trade him as the second- or even third-best prospect/player in a package for Cliff Lee. You?
4. Just because it's who I am and what I do, two '70s baseball flashbacks:
I've seen worse swings than LeVar Burton's. And how about Billy Martin playing the fictional nice-guy version of himself and getting through the scene without punching a single marshmallow salesman? Should have won an Emmy.
5. Think the Dodgers regret the mega-deal with the Red Sox last season in which they took on enough in salary to pay Kobe Bryant over the course of his entire NBA career so far? I think they will regret it, once Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa are low-cost, effective major league pitchers. But I doubt they do yet. It's kind of working for them at the moment. Adrian Gonzalez is having a fine season (.300/.353/.489) with a pace of about 25 homers and 100 RBIs. Carl Crawford is just coming back from an injury, but he looked like the Tampa Bay version of himself early in the season. Josh Beckett will look like Terry Forster in in three years and and Nick Punto is roster-fodder, but the deal hasn't been terrible for LA, which is just a game-and-a-half out of first place in the National League West. Of course, from a Red Sox standpoint, eternal thank-yous are warranted.
6. Maybe you already saw this funny and perfectly structured oral history of the fictional 1989 Cleveland Indians season as portrayed in the movie "Major League" Wednesday.
It went viral among baseball nuts Wednesday But it's worth passing along in case you didn't -- man, this is just one of those ideas you kick yourself for not coming up with first, sort of like Larry Granillo's brilliant sleuthing to identify the Cubs game Ferris Bueller attended during his famous day off.
Also, here's a perfect accompanying piece, an oral history of the making of the movie that appeared in Sports Illustrated two years ago. (As for the Pete Vuckovich card, the 1982 AL Cy Young award winner and zipper-phobe ...
... portrayed repulsive Yankees slugger Clu Haywood in the film.)
7. I love Major League Baseball. I love it even more when Manny Ramirez is a part of it, and I'll always remember his time with the Red Sox well for the most part. But I can't believe a 41-year-old who hit one home run in his last 105 big-league plate appearances in 2010 and '11 can get back to the majors and be of much assistance, at least without some assistance himself. I'd love to be proven wrong and see him get more than a cameo with the Rangers this season. But I don't think I will be.
8. Really curious to see what Derek Jeter, who will make his season debut Thursday after busting his ankle last October, can provide the Yankees. After looking like he was in natural decline in 2010 (90 OPS+) and '11 (100 OPS+), he bounced back improbably last year at age 38 with a season that wouldn't have looked out of place in his prime. I'm sure he'll still inside-out his share of hard singles to right field. But defensively, he could be a disaster. He's 39, coming off a severe injury, and wasn't particularly rangy as it was.
9. As for today's Completely Random Baseball Card:
Because sometimes, it really is random.
About Touching All The Bases
Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.