Sorry, but I can’t get it out of my head.

More baseball thoughts today… This might seem excessive, but you have to understand that I’ve done little aside from watch and read about baseball since the first pitch of Opening Day. I wait all winter for it to start, so when it finally does the enthusiasm pours out of me like a shaken bottle of soda, drenching everything else I might want to focus on. No doubt once the season settles in to its comforting day-in, day-out grind I’ll be able to turn my attention at least partially to other things, but for the moment this is my whole world. You people who read this blog for my stunning insights on video games and fantasy novels (snort) will just have to bear with me. Until then, more random observations from the first weekend of the season:

1) It’s always weird once the season starts up seeing the new HUDs the TV stations come up with — especially ESPN, who broadcasts Spring Training games using last year’s HUD then switches to their new one on Opening Day. Up to a point, a HUD’s a HUD’s a HUD, but I definitely like some more than others. ESPN’s swapped out the colored lights they were using to count balls/strikes/outs for old-fashioned numbers, and I believe they’ve got pitch speed on there constantly now. They were also toying around with keeping the K-zone on the screen constantly during Spring Training, but I don’t recall seeing it so far in real games. I think I like last year’s a little better, since it was easier to tell what the game state was at a glance, but there’s certainly nothing wrong with this one.

FOX’s new one, on the other hand, definitely seems better suited for football, with an overlarge cartoony display.

I kind of wonder when the old-school bar stretching across the top of the screen went out of style — when widescreen TVs started proliferating, maybe? Everyone seems to be shifting to boxy windows these days, which are more obtrusive in my opinion.

2) I saw a note the other day saying that Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost has formally divided his bullpen into two groups: Guys who will only pitch in close games, and guys who will never pitch in close games. That seems a little bizarre to me. Every team does that, of course, but not so rigidly and not so openly. Most managers will make a public show of saying that they have faith in the twelfth man on their staff in any situation, even if their actions are in no way consistent with such a belief.

It kind of reminds me of when I was in tenth grade and my English teacher divided our class into the dumb half and the smart half, giving each side different reading assignments and different homework. It may or may not be the best way to do things, but it demonstrates a certain blatant lack of faith in a portion of your charges that seems counterintuitive from a person whose primary job is supposed to be a teacher and motivator.

I’m sure that a guy in the dumb half of the bullpen could get himself promoted to key innings with good work in the garbage innings, but it still seems strange — not to mention inflexible. Given that it’s the Royals, it’s entirely possible that they could go weeks at a time without any close innings to speak of, and their real relief assets would be either wasted or “demoted” to garbage time. I wonder how long they’ll stick with it.

3) The Derek Jeter Countdown to 3000 is really annoying, and it’s only just getting started. Is SportsCenter really going to set off fireworks every time he passes someone on the hit list? Do I really have to hear about it in detail every time he changes his stance? He looks like absolute crap right now, and celebrating his achievements feels kind of like applauding a corpse for not making any wrong moves.

4) I’m not sure when Brian Cashman was replaced by a drunk tweeting at 2 am, but I’d like to see him keep it up. More drama in the Bronx is always a good thing as far as I’m concerned. I’m resigned to the fact that they’re a good team — the least they could do is provide me with some pissy infighting to entertain me with.

5) Realignment’s being kicked around again, if not in MLB’s offices than in the newspapers and blogs. For some reason I’m absolutely fascinated by the subject, even if I don’t have the faintest idea whether it’s necessary or even helpful. I love thinking about how things would work with a different playoff system or divisional alignment.

Personally, I’d do away with divisions altogether. Keep the leagues intact, and just take the four best records from each one for the playoffs. Then get rid of the unbalanced schedule, which is the most boring thing on the goddamn planet. I don’t know if this would actually help attendance or anything, but it would seem to encourage better teams (since you’d have to be legitimately good to make the playoffs and not just “good enough” — I think the major reason the NL Central has been so mediocre for so long is because all the GMs know that they only have to be “good enough”), which makes for a better spectator sport.

Majora’s Mask update tomorrow.

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