A Scary Year

Behind the Mike

It's the end of April, and one month of the baseball season is complete. People predicted that in this year of realignment, Year Two of The Great Commissioner Search, baseball would have a look and feel totally different from anything we loyal, abused fans had ever seen.

I'd say baseball has done better. I'd say the season has gotten downright scary.

Scary Fact Number One: I woke up this morning to see that Jeff Kent, second baseman for the illustrious New York, is leading the National League in home runs with 8.

Scary Fact Number Two: Get used to tape-measure home runs, football scores, and the Jeff Kents of the world. They're not going away anytime soon.

Here's a few scores from last week:


Red Sox 22, Royals 11

White Sox 12, Red Sox 1

Royals 11, Tigers 1

Angels 11, Orioles 8

Those are some very big numbers, people. I mean, what if the Patriots could score 22 points in a game? They'd probably win.

I like exciting games, with lots of runs scored. But 33 runs in a game? Didn't they just commission a study on how to speed up the game?

People are claiming that expansion depleted the already pitching-thin ranks of the major leagues, resulting in ERA's that are approaching the national debt, but don't be too sure.

Think about it: if you took all the pitchers from the expansion Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins and distributed them evenly among the other 26 teams, would the pitching be any better? The Rockies have only one pitcher with and ERA under 4.00 (David Nied). Florida's number-one starter is 40-year-old Charlie Hough.

Gee, don't spread any of that wealth around.

Scary Fact Number Three: Mention the term "fifth starter" in front of most managers, and they'll laugh at you. Some of them might name a position player (though I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that player won't be Jose Canseco)