It’s amazing how much I’ve come to neglect this space — this corner – of late. My excuse: I’ve devoted myself to the Adventures of Joe West. If you haven’t noticed, Joe West’s silhouette has replaced that of a batter in the NotGraphs logo. Since Joe West’s first adventure just over two weeks ago, that’s how far we’ve come.
Time, and Toronto, rolls on. Postseasons are about to officially be missed, and new seasons are about to begin. Death, and rebirth. The cycle of life, yo.
1. Opening Day is less than two weeks away. That is insane.
2. Back in the day, learning about the happenings of Spring Training meant waiting for highlights — awful looking highlights, camera angle wise, too — found in the depths of SportsCenter. Today, I know when Edwin Encarnacion hits a fly ball to the warning track immediately after he’s sent said fly ball to the warning track.
3. The coverage has increased at least a billion-fold, but I still don’t really care about Spring Training.
4. If Rajai Davis hits home runs, Rajai Davis can’t steal bases. The legend of Dwayne Murphy grows.
5. This time of year reminds me of one word, and one word only: Thaw. It’s a fantastic word. Say it out loud: thaw.
6. Ron Wilson starting J.S. Giguere in Miami was straight disrespectful to me as a Toronto Maple Leafs supporter. I’m stupid, but I’m not that stupid.
7. I like to think I’ve made peace with the Phil Kessel deal. That I support it fully, and am glad Kessel’s a Leaf. He’s 23. Kessel won’t be 24 until October. He’s a child! But every now and then, I suffer through fits of doubt. And I’ll be honest: defending Kessel, and the deal, is bloody exhausting.
8. You know who else is only 23? Carey Price. Thanks to The Score, I’ve watched a ton of Montreal Canadiens games this year. Price is for real. And he’s only 23.
9. Michael Cammalleri looks nothing like the Michael Cammalleri of 2009/2010, let alone the Cammalleri of 2008/2009. His struggles, injuries included, are what’s known as sweet justice for not signing with the Leafs.
10. I desperately — very, very desperately — want Nazem Kadri to succeed in the NHL. It would make my life easier.
11. Tomas Kaberle will play in Toronto as a member of the Boston Bruins Saturday night. Awkward. The Bruins are 7-2-3 since the trade, Toronto 6-4-4. Kabba’s got three assists in those 12 games as a Bruin, and he’s +5. But I’ve no doubt: Tomas misses home. If you’re at the game, I hope you remember that Kaberle is love. Give it up.
12. Brian Burke’s got to sign one of Tomas Vokoun or Ilya Bryzgalov. As much as I can’t really stand Ron Wilson, Burke owes it to his BFF to hook him up with at least one year of NHL-calibre goaltending. Imagine the freedom.
13. That being said, thank you, James Reimer. You’ve been the most pleasant of surprises.
14. My brother tells me I’m way too hard on Mike Komisarek. I say I can’t be hard enough. Worst.
15. I’m headed to Detroit next week to watch the Leafs take on the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. If you’ve got any Motor City recommendations, I’d love to read them.
16. I still can’t believe George Packer doesn’t have a Twitter account.
17. I can’t point out the date on a calendar, but I checked out on the Raptors season a long, long time ago.
18. However, this — DeMar DeRozan’s spin move, posterization of two members of the Utah Jazz — might be the play of the year. As always, the reaction from the bench is almost as great as the dunk itself.
19. Re-sign Bryan Colangelo already.
20. What’s up with Gaddafi and the tents?
21. If you’re ever in the Phoenix area during Spring Training, make sure you visit Salt River Fields at Talking Sticks. Incredible facility. I’ll have a post about the place up at NotGraphs in the coming days. And, yes, hanging out with the FanGraphs staff, the best and brightest baseball nerds, in the desert was just as fun as I imagined it would be.
22. Tell me that Toronto FC, led by locals Dwayne De Rosario and Julian de Guzman, will make the playoffs.
Image courtesy Ronnie Yip. Davisville Village stand up.