In our final installment of this pre-season series, Tripp and I move from discussing what’s wrong and what’s Wright with certain line-ups to discussing the legacies of some of the game’s legends of the moment. Tripp also peers into his crystal ball and makes some bold play-off predictions. Read on…
Give me your thoughts on the Albert Pujols situation.
Albert Pujols is a tremendous talent who is also a capitalist. It’s easy to deride him for being greedy. How much money does one person really need, anyway? But market conditions, as they are, suggest that Pujols will be paid somewhere around the $30 million a year mark, as absurd as that sounds. Do I think he should stay in St. Louis? Yes. Should he give the Cardinals a “discount” and accept a lower salary than he may be able to command from, say, the Yankees? I think he should, and I think he will. At least, I hope he will. I like to think Albert recognizes that money is not the be-all end-all, and that he will assign appropriate value to how much St. Louis adores him, and how well his career has blossomed there, while deciding where to play in the coming years. I think it’s too bad that his contract negotiation wasn’t resolved before the year began, but it is what it is. I don’t question for a minute that he will continue to play hard for the Cardinals through 2011.
Let me see if I can stretch a little of that optimism all the way back to New York. Andy Pettitte’s hung up his spikes and glove. Do you think he’s Hall of Fame material?
Andy Pettitte’s postseason record makes him a potential Hall of Famer. He has the most postseason wins in baseball history, had 240 career wins, had the most wins in the first decade of this third millennium (148, from 2000-2009) and never had a losing season in the 16 he played. I never really thought of him as a SPECTACULAR pitcher, but always felt he was clutch when the playoffs rolled around. I don’t really have too strong of an opinion on his candidacy, but I suppose I would vote for him to have a place among the greats in Cooperstown.
Any thoughts on Joe Torre now working within Major League Baseball’s administration as the league’s chief disciplinarian?
I respect Joe Torre, and feel he respects the game of baseball. The game is in good hands as long as people like Joe Torre are managing it. Need I say more?
You sound like you’re biting your tongue a little.
No, not at all. I have a lot of respect for Mr. Torre. I consider him a legend and an asset to the game.
All right, I’ve gotten you to compliment two former Yankee heavyweights, so I’ll wrap this up rather than continuing to press my luck. As you might know, I’m leaving quite soon to attend Spring Training in Florida myself. Do you have any advice for how I can get the most out of the experience?
Make sure you get to the park as soon as you can. Pre-game preparation was always one of my favorite parts of game day, with so much excitement in the air. Batting practice is a lot of fun, and though the regular execution of a pre-game infield pretty much ends at the collegiate level (which is unfortunate; a crisp pre-game infield can be veritably artful), watching the players get prepared for the game will give you an appreciation for the craft of baseball.
Also, don’t forget your sunscreen. And don’t be afraid to lose yourself in the game. Suspend time, turn off your phone, unplug, and marvel at the beauty of baseball.
Tripp’s Play-Off Predictions
AL East: Red Sox
AL Central: Twins
AL West: Rangers
AL Wild Card: Yankees
NL East: Phillies
NL Central: Cardinals
NL West: Giants
NL Wild Card: Cubs
ALCS: Twins over Red Sox
NLCS: Phillies over Cubs
World Series: Twins over Phillies
Oh, and he allegedly once streaked across a heavily populated portion of campus. Allegedly.