With Opening Day approaching, I'm reminded that nothing kills a good buzz like a hackneyed, dumbed-down, 10-part Phillies preview.
If it's all the same, I'd like to continue with regular, unplanned posting this week and let Pop Pop get his general, 5,000-word fix from newsstands (the Reading Eagle and the Phillies 2009 Annual are the exceptions). Let's start the week off right with just 34 words, found in the latest issue of ESPN Magazine: "Ask a scout and a stat analyst to identify baseball's best defensive third baseman over the past few years, and both will have Adrian Beltre and Pedro Feliz at the top of their lists."
ESPN Magazine, which usually finds its way into my recycling bin in short order, chose the new wave of fielding metrics as its central theme for its baseball preview and really sticks it to certain players, laying waste to Bobby Abreu and Raul Ibanez, among others. The magazine, which picks the Phils to capture their third-consecutive division title, calls Chase Utley's glove "underrated" and believes the club is sound defensively, but suggest that Ibanez might actually be worse than Pat Burrell in left field. Incidently, Ibanez's old team, the Seattle Mariners, rates as one of the best defensive units in baseball (as one might expect from a team that sets up with Endy Chavez, Franklin Gutierrez and Ichiro in the outfield.)