I'm taking some time off, just restin' and chillin',
So meanwhile, I dug up a bard who can fill in.
Dave, New Jersey: Regarding "Hat-gate" (Clemens in the HOF as a Yankee); Why shouldn't Rocket go in as a Yankee? Everytime he plays in Fenway he gets no respect/love from the fans (partly because he is a Yankee, but more so)...even his wife and family get verbally abused at these games. The Boston fans don't like him, why should he honor that town and club by wearing their hat? Shouldn't it come down to what town he (and his family) was happiest playing in? His best memories? Everyone needs to remember Boston didn't want him anymore. Yet, the Yankees traded a favorite (Wells, at the time a great pitcher too, still is) to get him, showing they wanted him.
Shakespeare: Love me or love me not, I like the cap;
And it I will have, or I will have none.
Joe Vallee (Woodbury, New Jersey) What was it like coming back to Philly this week? Although you were there for only a short time, I'm sure you have some good memories of the World Series year in 1983. Can the Phils get consistent, or is this team hopeless?
Shakespeare: I remember a mass of things, but nothing distinctly.
Carolyn (Vienna, VA): How aware are players and former players of Larry Doby? Seems like everyone talks about Jackie Robinson but rarely about Mr. Doby.
Shakespeare: I say, this house is as dark as ignorance, though
ignorance were as dark as hell; and I say, there
was never man thus abused. I am no more mad than you
are: make the trial of it in any constant question.
Sam (Ypsilanti, MI): I'm a big fan! In your column about the AL West, you note that the A's "Big 3" have been more vunerable than in the past. But look at their ERAs - Hudson 3.08, Mulder 3.26, and Zito 2.92. Struggling? These three are what is holding this team to a good record! Zito's 7-5 record overshadows that he is 1st in the AL in BAA (.197). What gives?
Shakespeare: Your eyes do make no coaches; in your tears
There is no certain princess that appears;
You'll not be perjured, 'tis a hateful thing;
Tush, none but minstrels like of sonneting!
But are you not ashamed? nay, are you not,
All three of you, to be thus much o'ershot?
You found his mote; the king your mote did see;
But I a beam do find in each of three.
Jeff from Newton, MA: On the topic of GM's and Billy Beane's new found fame (Moneyball): Who will be running the ball clubs of tomorrow? Will it be the Chairman of the Board type Owner(Steinbrenner), the all-knowing, stat watching GM (Beane, Epstein), or the ex-ballplayer Manager who understands the intangables (B. Valentine, J. Torre, M. Scioscia)? Can they work together?
Shakespeare: To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Kevin (New York, NY): When you were a player, were salary differentials between high paid and low paid athletes ever a problem in the clubhouse?
Shakespeare: Noble friends,
That which combined us was most great, and let not
A leaner action rend us. What's amiss,
May it be gently heard: when we debate
Our trivial difference loud, we do commit
Murder in healing wounds: then, noble partners,
The rather, for I earnestly beseech,
Touch you the sourest points with sweetest terms,
Nor curstness grow to the matter.
Jeremy (Portland, OR): It seems like the Reds have been getting into more than their fair share of Brawls recently. Is it just bad luck, or are they over reacting? It looks to me like some of them are a little eager to fight, but I've never had a Major League fastball coming at my head. Of course, you don't see Larkin or Griffey charging the mound.
Shakespeare: My lord, wise men ne'er sit and wail their woes,
But presently prevent the ways to wail.
To fear the foe, since fear oppresseth strength,
Gives in your weakness strength unto your foe,
And so your follies fight against yourself.
Fear and be slain; no worse can come to fight:
And fight and die is death destroying death;
Where fearing dying pays death servile breath.
Utek (LA): You say that Albert Pujols is the best young hitter in the majors, because he "attacks the ball". I'm not sure what you mean by this. Lots of hitters---particularly young hitters--- are aggressive and swing hard without putting up Pujols' numbers. Please explain. Thanks.
Shakespeare: So that the ram that batters down the wall,
For the great swing and rudeness of his poise,
They place before his hand that made the engine,
Or those that with the fineness of their souls
By reason guide his execution.
Chuck (Chicago): I wanted to hear your opinion in regards to who you feel should be the starting pitchers for the All-Star game. Esteban Loaiza has the best ERA by nearly an entire point in the AL, but I don't even hear him being considered. And is Kevin Brown a lock for the NL? Which two pitchers ought to face each other at U.S. Cellular Field?
Shakespeare: Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck,
Till thou applaud the deed.
Rob (Augusta, GA): I was wondering, with the Braves sudden emphasis on hitting and just enough pitching, do you think the team is ready to win a five game series, and two seven series, like in 1995, and not just do well in the regular season? Being a huge Braves fan, this question preoccupies my mind from April until October.
Shakespeare: Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased,
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,
Raze out the written troubles of the brain
And with some sweet oblivious antidote
Cleanse the stuff'd bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart?
CBeatty (Denver): Why doesn't MLB bring games to inner cities to help rouse more you youth interest? MLB brings games to Mexico, Puerto Rico, Japan, etc., why not D.C., New Orleans, etc?
Shakespeare: There is no appearance of fancy in him, unless it be
a fancy that he hath to strange disguises; as, to be
a Dutchman today, a Frenchman to-morrow, or in the
shape of two countries at once, as, a German from
the waist downward, all slops, and a Spaniard from
the hip upward, no doublet. Unless he have a fancy
to this foolery, as it appears he hath, he is no
fool for fancy, as you would have it appear he is.
Jeff: Polson, MT: Great to read your article about the M's and finally hear somebody extolling the virtues of the team and Gil Meche. As I look at their lineup and pitching, I see only one area that really needs an upgrade, Jeff Cirillo's offensive numbers (his defense has been great). If you were Pat Gillick, would you go after someone like Mike Lowell or would you sit tight? If such a trade were possible, what do you think the M's would have to give up (young pitching, pay part of Cirillo's salary)?
Shakespeare: What he cannot help in his nature, you account a
vice in him. You must in no way say he is covetous.
Stevie Ridzik (D.C.): Dig your work...But one bone to pick, how can you say "the Blue Jays rely mainly on home runs." when they lead the league in BA-SLG-OBP-OPS-RUNS-RBI and are only 3rd in taters?
Shakespeare: Now for the bare-pick'd bone of majesty
Doth dogged war bristle his angry crest
And snarleth in the gentle eyes of peace:
Now powers from home and discontents at home
Meet in one line; and vast confusion waits,
As doth a raven on a sick-fall'n beast,
The imminent decay of wrested pomp.
Rob (Toronto): How bout we get some Blue Jay questions in here! Will they be able to contend with the BoSox and the Yankees over the long haul? Also what are your thoughts on Vernon Wells and do you think he will be an All-Star?
Shakespeare: I see thy glory like a shooting star
Fall to the base earth from the firmament.
Thy sun sets weeping in the lowly west,
Witnessing storms to come, woe and unrest:
Thy friends are fled to wait upon thy foes,
And crossly to thy good all fortune goes.
Lars (Int'l Falls, MN): While I still like the overall makeup of the Twins, I really think they lack a bigtime run producer in the middle of their lineup; do you feel GM Terry Ryan will pull the trigger on a deal to acquire help, or will he just stand pat and play the season out and take his chances with what he has?
Shakespeare: Advise thee, Aaron, what is to be done,
And we will all subscribe to thy advice:
Save thou the child, so we may all be safe.