Picks of the Pen: The Immortal Zim Bear

Last year, when the Phillies played the Dodgers, MLB.tv gave us the Los Angeles feed.  Twitter was suddenly full of Phillies bloggers praising Vin Scully for being a soothing voice, relaying the narrative of the game to us, and actually revealing information on our own players that was new to us.

Then, the Dodgers scored a few times and we went back to spewing hideous profanity.

I can’t imagine the pall cast over the Dodgers’ home opener without their signature voice in the booth.  He is basically part of the building out there.

Sort of like how Picks of the Pen is part of your week.  So relax, we’re getting to the links.

Blaine Blontz

As I’m typing this the Baltimore Orioles are 3-0 [EDITOR'S NOTE: Now 3-2]. I realize they started the year against the Twins and actually went 6-1 in 2011 before crashing down to Earth by dropping their next eight. Still, it’s early and I am genuinely excited. Not for the World Series trophy the Orioles will not be hoisting this season or even the playoff games they will not be attending (unless as spectators) this fall.

What does excite me is the improved pitching. While only three games into the season, O’s fans have reason to hope that their team’s pitching will at least be competitive in 2012. Domenic Vadala of Birds Watcher agrees and lets us know what we can realistically expect from the O’s rotation this season. (Spoiler Alert!: It’s not a 1.00 ERA)

Predictions are fun. Here’s a few more.

Justin Klugh

Obviously, the story of the week thus far has been Ozzie Guillen and his very dumb remarks about admiring Fidel Castro, while being the manager of the baseball team that is in the region most offendable by such statements.  During his press conference yesterday, he claimed that he was misinterpreted, and that he was wrong.  Of course, he can’t be both.  But he said he was.  The Marlins, in turn, suspended him for five games.  Ehsan Kassim filled us in on Marlin Maniac.

And now, to counteract the grim, unfortunate nature of this news, here we have several dozen people getting slammed in the junk with a baseball.

Justin Hunter

Wendy Thurm of Baseball Nation went in-depth in determining whether we can draw conclusion about a new ballpark after just its opening series. And since my Padres play in one of the most obvious hitters parks in baseball, I’ve enjoyed the fact that Marlins Park seems to be playing big.

Speaking of Marlins Park, our own Lew Freedman gave his take on the park. It’s still a mystery to all of us, but he points out the roof will be closed for most of the games this season, so the park could play different.

Kyle Davis

Over at Swingin’ A’s, Jason Leary runs down some of the more notable ballpark promotions going on this season in MLB. The Zim Bear lives. The Zim Bear will never die.

Jonah Keri has written about baseball for just about every single website and publication known to man. In his latest column at Grantland, he calls for the abolition of the ridiculous save statistic and offers a few ideas on how relief pitchers can be better evaluated.

Chris Carelli

Joe Soriano wrote about Cole Hamels’ contract negotiations or lack thereof and the implications of Hamels wanting a $100 million contract because that’s the going rate among “aces.” Joe suggests that Hamels will be a step below Matt Cain going forward, and thus does not deserve Matt Cain money. But, these are the Phillies and they have not been shy about going the extra mile to sign “their guy.” As Joe says, it will be one of the big storylines of the season.

Alex Remington wrote about how Opening Day has become a little less dramatic than it used to be since there are now several “Opening Days.” There is now an opener outside the U.S. Then there is “Opening Night” back in the U.S. This is followed by four distinct days where other teams hold their own openers. Remington provides some history of the metamorphosis of Opening Day(s) which is illuminating.

Matt Musico

My favorite article on CttP this week was the analysis of the ten-year contracts throughout professional sports. I’ve never been a fan of long deals such as this one, especially with the level of financial commitment needed by a team. I wonder how the Votto, Pujols, and Fielder deals (even though his was nine years) will work out for these teams down the road. Then, we can do what we do best, scrutinize it!

The most interesting article I saw on the web this week was talking about the one, the only, Ozzie Guillen. His remarks about Castro did surprise me, but the fact that his thoughts have already gotten him in trouble in Miami does not surprise me one bit. I’m glad the Marlins stepped in to take care of this issue themselves instead of letting it run its course with the commissioner.

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