As a baseball fan I love this time of year. Actually, I love different parts of the season for different reasons. This time is great because it’s when hot young prospect typically get called up by teams that can’t wait to see what they have on their hands any longer. The biggest gem of this current period has been called up already – at least a couple of weeks before he was expected to be. Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters is the top prospect in all of the minor leagues right now, and he will be making his debut on Friday. He’s a big hitting prospect who is very strong at handling pitchers. The comparison is obvious – he’s regularly called the next Mike Piazza. He’ll get lots of opportunities to play in Baltimore – they are lousy and their best catching option is currently Gregg Zaun . I can’t wait to see what he is able to do with the opportunity. All indications should be that it will take a while for him to find his game, but he’s so talented and hopes are so high that maybe he’ll just jump right in like he belongs – like Evan Longoria did last year. Either way, the hype will be at such a high level that it will be fun to watch. It’s been a while since we’ve had a megastar at catcher – since Pudge was in his prime, I guess. It would be nice to have one again.
What a basketball game last night! I have to admit to having fully underestimate the Magic. I have obviously respected what they have done, and I think they have a bright future, but I didn’t think it was their time yet. What I obviously didn’t give them enough credit for was their toughness. I knew LeBron was going to want to win badly, but I didn’t imagine that Dwight Howard and company could want to win at least as badly, or that they would be able to channel that in such positive ways. It really shows just how good LeBron is – he made his team look so much better than they obviously are all year. I’m still not counting the Cavs out, but the advantage is clear at this point. The networks won’t be thrilled about Dwight Howard in the final instead of the King, but it sure will be fun to watch if it happens. If, that is, Howard doesn’t lose his mind and get suspended before then – I think I would if I was faced with as many ridiculous technical fouls and non-calls as he has had. So much for the notion of impartial refereeing.
Speaking of impressive performances, I hope that you have seen at least some of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ run through the playoff this year. They started out slow, but they have got better and better as things have gone along, and they absolutely destroyed a good Carolina team in four surprisingly easy games. Detroit is a very good team who I certainly won’t underestimate, but it’s hard to imagine the Pens getting shutdown the way that their two top players are rolling. Or their goalie, for that matter. The third round was terribly boring, but they were incredibly impressive. At this rate Pittsburgh might corner the market on championships. Except for in baseball, I guess – you have to have something close to a winning record before you can win a title.