A couple of things while I'm catching up on my recorded World Cup games from this morning:
1) The Rockies are back to all even after Josh Fogg picked up his first career victory against the ExpoNationals franchise, 9-2. Clint Barmes was the hitting hero, which is good news. Obviously he feels Kaz Matsui breathing down his neck. For all of my moaning and carrying on, Colorado has now won 5 of its last 7 and is 16-16 at home, 16-16 on the road, and only three games back of the division-leading Diamondbacks and Dodgers. They play two more against the Nationals and three at St. Louis before they start a sequence of series against the AL West teams as Interleague 2006 draws to a close. They get Oakland and Texas at Coors, which I think ought to be pretty interesting. In any event, if any team is going to run away with the NL West, they're playing it pretty coy at this point. Everybody has between 32 and 35 wins at this point. No one is below .500. If the version of the Rockies with the functional offense is the rule rather than the exception in the coming months, we're in for an interesting summer.
2) I got a black Josh Beckett Marlins jersey for twenty bucks at Marshalls yesterday. It's pretty sweet. They had Canada World Baseball "Classic" jerseys for sale as well, home and away, but I'm holding off on those until they drop a bit from $30. I have an impressive collection of sports items that I bought after the player named on them changed teams, from an Omar Vizquel Indians shirt to a Rasheed Wallace Trail Blazers jersey. I allow the belief among my non-sports fan friends to persist that all of my outfits are timely and purchased at a premium. What they don't know won't hurt them.
3) The Nationals pinch-hit a guy named Brendan Harris yesterday and I recognized him immediately as a former Cub. I was out getting food at the time and it drove me absolutely crazy how he ended up in Washington. For some reason I thought he might have been involved in a Michael Barrett deal but I was wrong; he was involved in the four-team Nomar/Cabrera deal which certain Boston sportswriters still credit as winning the World Series for the Red Sox. Harris barely played in the majors while in the Cubs system but he made an impression on me because, well, he looked at the time like a dirtball, Mickey Morandini redux, and I love dirtballs almost as much as soft-tossing lefties. (By the way, how about this O'Connor kid?) Harris has gotten a haircut, sadly, and has otherwise done very little with himself since becoming an ExpoNational. It occurred to me while looking up Harris's stats that the Rockies don't really have any guys in their system like him, replacement player sorts who I root for illogically because they fit a certain baseball stereotype I find pleasing and/or reassuring. Maybe Mike Esposito, who's a soft-tossing righty, but I think Esposito might actually be a pretty good major-league pitcher one day if he lucks into the right situation. Jorge Piedra was caught using steroids. Jeff Baker and Ryan Shealy play the wrong positions. Jamey Carroll has the hustle and the physique of a true grinder, but then there's the whole Christianity thing. A Christian grinder is just no fun. What good is a hustle ballplayer without the tobacco stains and friendly streams of obscenities? Not much good, is my answer to you. Maybe this is the reason I've never fully embraced David Eckstein.