News & Notes: The Soriano saga continues; the WBC ends

I have a few loose ends to wrap up this evening and some light-hearted links. Without further ado….

  • The Alfonso Soriano saga continued this afternoon with a new take on the topic. According to a poorly copyedited report by Nationals’ MLB.com beat writer, Soriano did not know he was supposed to play left field.

    Now, this is a new one. Apparently, the Nationals coaches drew up two lineup cards. One had Soriano’s name on it; the other did not. Soriano did not know he was supposed to be in the lineup until former Yankee teammate and current Nationals first baseman Nick Johnson told him. At that point, the game had started. And the Nationals aren’t denying this.

    Soriano says he has talked over the situation with his wife and agent and will decide his future before game time this afternoon. These revelations give Soriano a convenient excuse, but it won’t help him shed the selfish label. I would expect to see the former second baseman take his place in left field come game time today in Jupiter, Florida.

  • Congratulations are in order for Ichiro and Japanese team. Baseball is truly an international sport, and no matter what Joe Morgan says, it has been so since the 1800s. The Japanese, Koreans, Dominicans, Cubans, Venezuelans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and every other team that showed up for the tournament ought to be proud of the event. It was a roaring success. Baseball managed to compete against March Madness, and some people would say that baseball came out on top.

    Still, there are problems. I do not like the randomness of the tournament. It is completely antithetical to baseball. The Koreans were 6-1, the best team in the tournament. They beat Japan two out of three times. However, because, unluckily for them, Japan beat them in the semifinals instead of the first or second round, they had to go home. Korea should have been playing in the final. Hopefully, the tournament organizers can address this problem in three years.

  • From the “No one ever said baseball players were smart” department comes Eric Chavez. As David’s Pinto’s Baseball Musings noted early today, the new A’s hitting coach is already making a difference. Pinto links to a San Francisco Chronicle article:

    Chavez and Ellis like the way Perry communicates. He doesn’t hesitate to say what he thinks (he jumped all over one player for not showing up for early hitting) and he asks lots of questions. When Chavez told him, for instance, that he doesn’t usually incorporate his leg kick into his swing until the seasons starts, and he usually gets off to slow starts, Perry said, ‘Why don’t you put the leg kick in now?’ A simple thought, but one that hadn’t been raised before.

    “A lot of guys have a message but don’t know how to get it across,” Chavez said. “Gerald does. I understand what he’s telling me to do. And he’s really positive, every at-bat he’ll come up and say, ‘That swing was good, you’re right there.’ With the young guys, I think that really helps.”

    Coming soon for Chavez: An eating coach that suggests eating if he feels hungry and, as mac in the comments said, someone to tell him to flip the switch if it’s dark in a room.

  • Jon Swift thinks he knows how the US can win the World Baseball Classic next time. His suggestion? Steroids.
  • If you’ve never watched The Shield but enjoy great acting, dramas and stunning storylines, it’s not too late. I just watched the Season 5 Finale, and woah. I’ve never been floored by a TV show before. The deaths on 24 last week were sad, but this was a stunner. Get the DVDs, watch it. It’s as good as any movie out with better characters and acting.
  • Finally, I get to do the good ol’ fashioned leave ’em hanging line. I will have not one but two big announcements concerning this blog and my baseball writing by the end of the week. So stay tuned while I firm up the details.
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