The 1993 baseball season at midterm--or, How Time Flies When Your Name Isn't Anthony Young.
What has been learned . . .
* That baseball is no longer a team game, or a 75% pitching game, or a 25-man game, or a strong-up-the-middle game, or a nine-man game. In 1993, baseball has become a one-man game, and its name is Barry Bonds.
* That it is possible to qualify for the playoffs--even in these single-tier, four-division, no wild-card days--with a losing record. Suggested reading: The American League West standings.
* That Tom Werner has decided to sell the San Diego Padres, one by one.
* That Bryan Harvey's right arm still hasn't fallen off. It will receive a strenuous test in November, though, when it attempts to lift that extremely heavy fireman of the year award.
* That the Jim Abbott deal was a trade that helped the Angels in April and no one since.
* That Luis Polonia picked a fine time to decide to test the free-agent market.
* That Cal Ripken needs a day off.
* That any team playing .300 baseball with the names Gooden, Saberhagen, Franco, Fernandez, Bonilla, Coleman, Johnson and Murray on its roster ought to fire the manager, but the Mets already tried that.
* That the way the Florida Marlins are going, they will reach the World Series before the Angels do.
* That old Angel free-agent busts never die; they merely move to Kansas City and get immediate playing time. Hubie Brooks, Gary Gaetti. Who's next, John D'Acquisto?
* That the next Ted Williams is not named Andres Galarraga, no matter what the numbers say.
* That we have not, however, ruled out John Olerud.
* That only Toronto could ship away a pennant contender (David Wells, David Cone, Jimmy Key, Tom Henke, Fred McGriff, Manny Lee, Kelly Gruber, Candy Maldonado, Dave Winfield, Mark Whiten, Glenallen Hill) and still lead the American League in winning percentage.
* That only San Diego could ship away a pennant contender (John Kruk, Roberto Alomar, Carlos Baerga, Gary Sheffield, Joe Carter, Sandy Alomar Jr., Kevin Mitchell, Tony Fernandez, Darrin Jackson) and pass it off as "improving the team."
* That Jose Canseco and the rest of the summer off is a combination that should keep the police in Texas occupied for a while.
* That Cecil Fielder needs a new agent, a new position or a new league. He flat-out mauls the ball but because of Olerud--last year, it was Mark McGwire--he still can't buy an All-Star break.
* That the Humane Society should have been called about this Anthony Young thing a long time ago.
* That the ball really does carry in Denver, even more so when the Colorado Rockies are pitching.
* That Deion Sanders is no Bo Jackson. He is not even Otis Nixon.
* That the Chicago White Sox have no excuse, none at all.
* That if the cards had been played just a tad differently during the winter, Tampa-St. Pete would be running away with the NL West.
* That a Jim Fregosi-Buck Rodgers World Series was too good to be true.
* That said, sportswriters across the land are rooting for a Philadelphia-Detroit World Series. "Let's see. John Kruk, Cecil Fielder, Lenny Dykstra, David Wells, Pete Incaviglia, Mickey Tettleton, Mitch Williams, Rob Deer, Darren Daulton . . . any good stories here?"
* That as good as the Dodgers think they are on real grass, they are better when playing with a real right fielder.
* That Milwaukee still has a major league team. I checked.
* That the loss of "Cheers" hit Boston harder than the loss of Roger Clemens.
* That unless someone body-switches John Orton for Mike Piazza in the next three weeks, the NL rookie of the year race is over.
* That if Tommy Lasorda is the argument for Ultra-Slim Fast and Kruk and Fielder are the arguments against, Ben and Jerry sit at the head of my training table.
* That the Angels have been downright neighborly to time their fade-from-view with the opening of the Mighty Bullfrogs season.
* That Jose Offerman is on pace for another 40-error season, but because his team is on pace for 85 victories instead of 99 losses, the scouting report has been upgraded from "What went wrong?" to "Coming along nicely."
* That Fernando Valenzuela is alive and pitching in Baltimore with a lower earned-run average (3.98) than Kevin Gross, Pedro Astacio, Julio Valera, Hilly Hathaway and Russ Springer, just to name five.
* That the Cubs aren't in a drought; they are merely completing their 48th consecutive year of altruistic community service. They realize the Chicago Police Dept. isn't big enough for both the NBA championship and the National League pennant.
* That Mark McLemore was really a .290-hitting right fielder trapped inside a .220-hitting second baseman's body all along.
* That this time next year, we should be gearing up for opening day, unless the lockout lasts five months instead of four. Get your fix now. Only 116 shopping days until hardball season begins.